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Linda Mah
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A Kinder School Year at Winchell

Winchell Elementary PTO Celebrated Kindness During School Year

There’s nothing political about Kindness Week at Winchell Elementary.

But parents Brynn Anderson and Amy Leskowski were dismayed by the reports of intolerance and intimidation that became regular news fodder after the presidential election in November. They decided to combat those stories by putting the emphasis on actions of kindness and love at Winchell, and they, along with other members of the PTO, launched Kindness Week at the school in January.

Kindness was a natural theme for the school, because it is one of the tenets in the school’s R.O.C.K. Star acronym, which stands for “Responsible, Outstanding, Caring, Kindness.”

The initial week kicked off on Jan. 16, MLK Day. The idea was to promote kindness not only among the children, but to encourage the students to also think about being kind to teachers, bus drivers, custodians, and everyone at the school who helps them feel safe and cared for.

Among the activities that week was a toiletry drive, for donations that went to area nonprofit agencies; notes of kindness for staff; and a kindness paper chain, made up of paper links with the names of children who teachers caught in the act of being kind that week. There were also special snacks delivered to the classrooms with the message, “Love and kindness come in all colors” and a day devoted to wearing neon-colored clothes reflecting the theme “Let your kindness shine bright.”

The concept got such a good response, the PTO decided to extend the kindness theme through the rest of the year, with supply drives for items such as school supplies and diapers, which were given to area agencies.

“We really are trying to instill in the kids the idea of giving back to your community,” Anderson said.
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