As it draws closer to December, this primary school Gaelscoil Mhíchíl Uí Choileáin, Clonakilty, situated in County Cork, Ireland, replaces homework with “acts of kindness.”
A similar initiative happens in this school every December and June leading up to the Christmas and Summer holidays over the last three years. For the rest of the school year, the children have standard academic homework to do.
Their motto for this project is “be the reason someone smiles today.”
These children will not spend the season of joy memorizing lessons, making sums, or writing essays. Instead, they’ll be conducting charitable acts of kindness for family, friends, and society. Little acts of kindness can make a massive difference in someone’s life.
This is not the first time that this school replaced homework with something far more interesting. The one year it was gratitude. The children and their families had to record everything they were grateful for in a Gratitude Diary (Dialann Buíochais).
Another year children had to record their kindness acts in a ‘Kindness Diary’. They can do so in writing or through pictures. The only criteria for these acts are that they should brighten some person’s day.
The school encourages children to give a helping hand to older people or be there for someone who feels lonely. This is not the only great idea the school came up with. They have also installed a bucket of kindness (Buicéad Cineáltais) into which children can put kind notes about others.
The school hopes that this will raise self-esteem and positivity among children by doing something they love. These kind notes are then read aloud during the Friday assembly, “am tionóil” (assembly). They were randomly selected and shared to emphasize the kind words and small acts that can make a considerable difference in someone’s life.
Last but not least, each class had to brainstorm and decide on a class-wide project to assist their community during this season of joy.
Vice Principal Íde Ní Mhuirí shared her ideas regarding this project and said they are encouraging their pupils to think of Christmas’s real spirit, the spirit of kindness and giving.
According to her, there is no one who wouldn’t appreciate an act of kindness. It doesn’t cost anything to be kind to someone. The school encourages these students to put a smile on everyone’s faces. This is the foundation for making the world a better place for everyone.
The school is very grateful to the parents who have embraced their mental health, gratitude, fitness, and exercise initiatives thus far. With their continued support, they hope to make páistí na scoile, kind-hearted, happy, and well-rounded citizens and equip them with life skills that will shape them long after leaving the school.
This Christmas, they hope our páistí won’t feel the need to buy expensive gifts, as it is better to give a bit of themselves.
Christmas Season is good for the community. A “child–led” venture, the school is very excited to see what unique ideas emerge.
If others could initiative similar acts of kindness, it could make Christmas memorable for some unfortunate lonely people.
When people are caring and sharing, it warms the heart and will inspire others.
Gerardo Ixcoy, a 27-year-old teacher, did the next best thing and went to buy an adult tricycle. He made the tricycle into a mobile classroom. Every day he travels through the cornfields of Santa Cruz del Quiche to educate sixth-grade students. Ixcoy uses a mop to ensure that the social distance between him and his students is in order.