What does it mean to take “action”? For students in the IB PYP, action is “authentic, meaningful, mindful, and responsive. Action could be a change in attitude, a consideration or plan for action in the future, a demonstration of responsibility, or of respect for self, others, and the environment.”
Action takes a lot of forms; it can be big or small. Action can come from extending learning in the classroom, or when students share their passions. At Cypress Park, action starts right from the beginning in Kindergarten with our “Kindness Ninja’s”. In learning about our code of behaviour (how we want to be treated, and how we treat others), students are invited to become a Kindness Ninja by taking the following pledge:
Kindness Ninja Pledge
I pledge to myself on this very day,
To try to be kind, in every way.
To every person, big or small,
I will help them, if they fall.
When I love myself, and others too,
This is the best that I can do.
For I am a Kindness Ninja, that is true!
My mission is to spread LOVE to all of you!
Throughout the year, our Cypress Park Kindness Ninja’s are immersed in taking action. This year alone they have participated in several acts of giving, including: a blanket drive, a month-long school-wide Kindness Challenge, sending cards to seniors, making bird feeders for our surrounding forest, spreading messages of kindness to our community on World Kindness Day, carolling in the neighbourhood, and most recently, creating COVID care kits for Family Services of the North Shore.
When asked to reflect how it makes them feel to take part in ‘kindness missions’, one student said, “It makes my heart feel good and happy,” and another said, “[My heart] was getting so big it was going to explode with love.”
Student action isn’t always driven by classroom initiatives though. At Cypress Park, students learn about inequities in the world and their community, and that, coupled with their own interests and passion sometimes leads to student-initiated action. You can find my previous blog post about this here.
Khalayna, a grade 1 student, was inspired by a friend who had recently cut and donated her hair to Wigs for Kids. So she decided to do it too. “I had to grow my hair really long. I cut off 10 inches and now my hair is really short.” When asked about why she wanted to do this, Khalayna explained, “I want the kids to be confident and happy. I feel really happy [to donate my hair] so others can have hair too.”
Going one step further, Khalayna also decided to raise money for Wigs for Kids. “Some medicines are expensive, and parents can’t pay for it for their kids, so I collected money too. My hope is to bring happiness and peace of mind to parents.”
Khalayna is not alone in this act of giving. Emilia who donated her hair when she was in grade 1, is once again going to cut her hair for Wigs for Kids. “I want to do it every two years because I want to support kids who have cancer and donate my hair to them.” Emilia has also encouraged a couple of classmates (and even her mom!) to join her in this year’s initiative, which will take place later this Spring. When asked why she is doing it again, she said, “It’s one small thing I can do to help others.”
But for Emilia, her action doesn’t stop there. Emilia has also been out flyering the neighbourhood to encourage others to take part in our Spring fundraising (plant sale) campaign. She drafted a letter to her neighbours as a call to action. “I want to help raise money for the school and also to help people who can’t get out to get to the [garden] store.”
Emilia’s family knows that it takes a village. “It is through the Cypress Park teachers & community providing opportunity to take risks and build confidence, that then have a ripple effect of good deeds and initiate the courage to try.”
April 21st is “Do1Give Day”, an annual event that encourages simple acts of giving. Whether it be today, or another day soon, what will your “give” be? What is one small action you can take to help make life a little brighter for someone else?
Please let us know about any student-initiated action you might experience with your children at home. We’d love to hear their stories and share them out too!
“Cypress Park Primary School strives to develop caring, creative, principled students who apply their skills and knowledge and recognize different perspectives with an open mind. It is the school’s mission to nurture confident and inquiring individuals who are citizens of the world.”