Acts of kindness are not always random in a classroom at Salmon Arm West Elementary.
Teacher Larissa Friesen’s students took part in a kindness contest during February, where their thoughtfulness and caring shone. They won the recognition of being the kindest Grade 2/3 class in Canada.
“Kindness is a big thing we’ve been focusing on in my classroom, so I decided to sign up my kiddos for it,” Friesen said.
A few other grades from one to six in other towns were also recognized.
Throughout the month, each student had three general tasks tracked by the platform: reporting to their teacher kindness acts they witnessed; sending and receiving compliments; and completing a weekly kindness quest where they set up individual activities. Such activities might include drawing a picture or writing a letter to the school secretary, saying good morning to 10 different people or leaving a secret note for a classmate.
The contest was put on by Depths of Comfort, an online platform developed by clinical counsellor and CEO, Cole Levitt.
Winners were based on volume of tasks completed but also quality, Friesen said.
She said 500 “you are nice” compliments would up the number, for instance, but wouldn’t be as meaningful as individual compliments.
Along with recognizing classes, the contest gave kudos to individual students, one of whom was also in Ms. Friesen’s class.
Taking the top kindness honour was student Annis Elidrysy.
“For a Grade 2, he really went above and beyond,” Friesen said.
One day the school custodian spilled something so he stepped out of the line he was in to help her pick everything up.
Thanks to sponsor Pizza Hut, Annis received a Pizza Hut gift card while the class was awarded a pizza party for March 12.
The class was “very, very excited” when they learned they had won and they would be on television news.
“We talked about what it meant to be humble,” she said. “We won kindness class so how can we be kind now?”
Friesen was excited for her students and also pleased, as this is her first year teaching.
“It was a big compliment for a class.”
She expressed pride for her students.
“Every single one of the kids in the class did so well. They should be so proud. Without every one of them we wouldn’t have won it.”
She also expressed appreciation for the students’ parents and families, who have passed on such values to the students.
“They all came in with kind hearts and they work so hard at everything they do. It takes a village to raise a child.”