Eagle View's Fourth Graders Trained to be 'Everyday Heroes'

Youth Frontiers’ Kindness Retreat Image 2Imagine an entire day where you are treated with nothing but kindness. Eagle View's fourth graders don't have to imagine it; instead they experienced it when they attended the Youth Frontiers' Kindness Retreat in February. This all-day event, sponsored by the Eagle View Elementary PTO, was a day that students are not likely to forget.

Woven between high-energy, engaging activities and sing-alongs, were lessons of empathy and kindness. The three goals for the day were for students to understand why and how to make kind choices, enhance empathy skills to understand how words and actions affect others, and acquire conflict-resolution skills to safely respond to situations of bullying. Students were introduced to the idea that kindness is like a boomerang. The kindness you throw out to others comes back to you. Students also learned that they too can become an everyday hero by helping students who are being treated unkindly. The “ICI” strategy encourages students to Interrupt, Compliment or Invite away when they see another student being treated unkindly.

Youth Frontiers’ Kindness Retreat Image 1During the day students worked in a number of small-group breakout sessions, led by parent volunteers, to brainstorm unkind behaviors they've experienced at school and ways that they can be a part of the solution to this problem. By the end of the day, students pledged to actively make Eagle View an even better place to be by modeling kind behavior. The day wrapped up by taking the time for students to reflect on their own choices in the past. Students were given the opportunity to speak to the entire grade level to apologize to someone they have hurt or to thank someone who has been a good friend. Students accepted this challenge with ease and many shared tear-worthy responses.

Youth Frontiers’ Kindness Retreat Image 6But the lessons from the day do not end here. Staff at Eagle View are dedicated to uphold students to their pledge to make kind choices. Our school social worker, Renee Meyers, commented, "I would like to commend the New Prague school district leaders and the parents for supporting the Youth Frontiers' Kindness Retreat in our three elementary schools (Eagle View, Raven Stream and Falcon Ridge) for the past 12 years. This extremely engaging program helps support all three buildings in their efforts to promote respect for all people and owning behavior by apologizing when you make a mistake.” Youth Frontiers also provides additional resources for teachers and staff to access such as follow-up videos and weekly kindness challenges. Continuing to emphasize the use of kindness to include others and to act respectfully, to make our school a better place, also falls in line with our school goals. At Eagle View, we S.O.A.R. by using safety first, owning our behavior, achieving our goals, and responding respectfully. Eagle View is committed to making our school a place where everyone belongs. Revisiting strategies to spread kindness and empathy are one of the ways we accomplish this goal. Be sure to be on the lookout for some of Eagle View's everyday heroes!

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