Kindness takes many forms at Canadian Martyrs Catholic Elementary School. Over the past number of years students and staff have been focused on creating a mentally healthy and supportive school environment through acts of kindness … to others, to the Earth, and to self.
Kindness can be as simple as saying hello, said Principal Peter Messina, or it can shown through care of the environment, community food drives, and/or taking care of oneself through healthy eating, meditation, stress relief activities and healthy eating.
“Canadian Martyrs has been focused on making our school warm and welcoming through the lens of kindness,” said Messina. “One act of kindness can make a difference in someone’s day.”
With help from School Social Worker Kelly Duffy-Kariam, Public Health Nurse Manuela Trombetta and third year nursing students from McMaster University, the school has engaged in a variety of activities over the past several months to promote mental health and well-being.
On June 20th, their efforts culminated in a Kindness Fair where health, wellbeing and kindness were celebrated through song, dance, photos, activities, social activism and prayer.
One of the highlights of the event was a 30-minute school-wide Zumba dance, led by Kathy Raposo Wilkes. Other activities focused on how to be kind to ourselves and feel calm. Students formed multi-age “friendship teams” wearing different colours to depict the colours of the rainbow. Students were then rotated through different stations that inlcuded yoga, music therapy, stretching/self-massage, positive message banner/button making, calming bottles, healthy food tasting, and chill zone (including meditation).
Although the Kindness Fair was focused on self-kindness, Messina said the students showed their kindness to others by fillings baskets with non-perishable food items for Hamilton Police Services’ “Cram a Cruiser” food drive.
“The children understand what kindness to others and to self means,” he added. “Each day we are called to be servants of God and Canadian Martyrs is doing just that through acts of kindness.”