The Kindness Tree

Kate’s Club presented to 24 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classrooms at Norton Elementary School in Gwinnett County this week. That’s 600 students who participated in the KC Connects Outreach program in one week! We are scheduled to present to 36 more elementary school classrooms during the next four weeks.

These interactive presentations include a project called the “Kindness Tree.” The project begins as a poster with a hand-drawn tree (thank you, star Kate’s Club volunteer, Susan!). The curriculum focuses on three important aspects of grief and loss, and each aspect has a corresponding activity related to the tree.

1. Community: Students define what a “community” means. Then ask questions such as, “How does a community learn together and support one another?” and “How is a classroom defined as a community?” Students are asked to decide on a name for their classroom community, and a heart with the community’s name written on it is placed on the tree.

2. Grief: What is grief? Responses can range from the sad feeling we have when we miss someone or something that we wish we could see or see more often. The corresponding emotions we feel along with that sad feeling are discussed. Students are asked to think of who or what they are grieving. Students are encouraged to share their story and write the name of someone or something they miss on a leaf. Then, each student comes forward to tape a leaf on the tree.

3. Kindness: Students provide answers about how to be a good friend to someone who is sad. A discussion about they want and need when they are sad is facilitated. That discussion leads to a brainstorming activity about how the students can be kind and caring members of their classroom community. Students are asked to write one way in which they can be kind to someone who is sad on a hand-shaped piece of paper. Then, each student comes forward one more time and place their ‘pledge’ around the base of tree.

After the tree is filled, students then tell a bit about what they wrote, either on the leaf or the hand, and the presentation closes by noticing that the sadness of the stories on the leaves is being held up by the caring of the kindness of the hands on and around the tree.

Would you like to share your story? Please contact us at griefawarenesday@gmail.com