by Ashley Bouwense
Center Grove Elementary School’s second graders spread kindness to the Randolph community on their Kindness Tour Fri., April 29.
The 70 students made five stops on their tour around the town. First, the students traveled to the Sunrise Senior Living Center, where they sang patriotic songs to the residents. They also gave out tissue paper flowers that they had created days before the tour.
Next, they visited Eleventh Hour Rescue. Parent volunteers drove donations to Eleventh Hour, and the second graders unloaded the donations from the vehicles. Other students from Center Grove donated to the Eleventh Hour collection.
The Post Office was next on the tour, where they mailed letters they had written to soldiers. In a previous lesson, the students used their skills from their letter-writing unit to write the letters.
The group stopped at Freedom Park next to have lunch. This gave the students the opportunity to talk to each other about their experiences and provide them with down time after their hard work.
Last stop, Center Grove! When the students arrived back at the school, a yoga instructor guided them through a yoga session to teach students how to be kind to themselves.
Second grade teacher at Center Grove, Brittany Dungan, shared the idea for the kindness tour with her colleagues.
“The Kindness Tour was something that my previous school district did,” she explained. “[My coworkers] thought it would be a great opportunity to teach the students how to give back to the community.”
The second grade social studies curriculum revolves around community: what it is, its purpose and its history. The Kindness Tour ties into the curriculum, as it teaches students that a community gives back to its people.
Dungan, along with fellow second grade teachers—Kristen Miller; Wanda Turner; and Lori Nields—all participated in the event. Parents contributed to the initiative, too. In Kindness Night, students and parents had the opportunity to create posters and banners for the tour.
Dungan and Miller teach social studies for the entire grade-level. In preparation for the tour, the two started in the beginning of the year by discussing the importance of the community and how people function together as one. Later, all four second grade teachers began to focus on the kindness aspect of the tour.
“We continuously talked about the importance of kindness and how we can give back,” Duncan explained.
Dungan expressed the importance of the Kindness Tour.
“It teaches kids to be selfless. It also teaches them to give back to their community and how they can make a difference at such a young age.”
There was a particular moment at the senior center that stood out to Dungan. As the children sang, she scanned the room filled with residents and parents of the students.
“I remember, at one point, an older gentleman was waiving his hand in the air and singing along with the students. I [also] remember looking around the room and realized that almost all of the parent volunteers had tears in their eyes. I was just an amazing sight to see.”
Dungan and the rest of the second grade team plan to hold the tour again next year. They have already begun to discuss how they can change and expand the initiative.
“We would also like to extend our appreciation to Mr. Rodas for continuously being supportive throughout the planning process and implementation process of this new venture,” Dungan said. “Mr. Rodas’s excitement towards this Kindness Tour truly helped inspire us and our students. In addition, we would like to thank the students, staff and parents from Center Grove for their support and donations. We look forward to what the upcoming years will bring.”