March 10, 2017

A special arts and kindness week was held at Dame Janet Primary Academy in February, provided by People United with funding from Newington Big Local and Kent County Council. The aim of the week was to encourage the children to think, understand and practice kindness through arts activities led by artists Steampunk Bob (Bob Karper) and Super Nova (Nova Marshall).

Linking to the literacy, arts and SMSC (spiritual, moral, social and cultural) curriculum, the activities were designed to enable pupils to recognise and describe kindness qualities and characteristics (e.g. patience, compassion), identify their kindness role models, and understand the benefits of being kind to ourselves and each other.

The larger than life characters of the artists enthralled the children as they created kindness exchange boxes to be filled with jokes, drawings and kindness challenges created by the pupils and given to a class in the lower school to enjoy. Each box had a button inside which, when pressed, played a recorded message from the class such as ‘We’re in Jamaica class and we think kindness is contagious’. They also created bunting with motivational kindness messages and pictures of kind qualities such as being helpful and being friendly.

Steampunk Bob and Super Nova also collected stories about the pupil’s KP’s (kind people) and KQ’s (kind qualities) in the playground and assembly. From these stories, Steampunk Bob created lyrics for Dame Janet’s very own GratituTune – a gratitude tune to say thanks to their special KP’s – which they rehearsed accompanied by Steampunk Bob on his ukulele. Years 5 and 6 wrote Haikus about their special KP’s.

During lunchtime Super Nova and Steampunk Bob went out to the playground to discover the pupil’s favourite KQ’s as well as challenging them to Kindness Challenges such as: Tell a friend how great they are, give a compliment to a classmate, talk to someone you don’t know, give someone a hug, or make up your own challenge!

On Wednesday afternoon a celebration assembly was held to showcase the work created so far in Kindness Week for the whole school and some specially invited VIPs. All of the kindness exchange boxes were lined up at the front of the hall with lettering on the sides spelling out Kind Exchange. Three year 6 pupils read out their heart-warming haikus and the whole school sang the GratituTune proudly. In the middle of the song there was even a dance break for pupils to show off their best moves; in the week one pupil did the worm all the way across the classroom!

“I had a very joyful three days with the pupils of Dame Janet School, laughing and making and singing and learning about the many kind people in their lives. I was impressed by how all the children took part, how they supported each other and complimented each other, and I was inspired by their ‘Gratitude Haiku’s and great dance moves in the GratituTune”
Steampunk Bob

“I have heard of some fantastic activities being carried out across the whole school and the positivity and friendliness displayed by all of the children during this week has really made me smile.”
Nikki Wood Community Liaison

“It’s really made the children think about the way they treat others. Fab idea.”
Mrs Lawrence Year 5 teacher 

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Here’s a snippet of Dame Janet’s GratituTune:

A GratituTune is a song for KPs
KPs are Kind People with KQs (and)
KQs are Kindness Qualities (like)

Sharing joy
With a knock knock joke
Joining in games
And saying Hello (HELLO!)

To find out more about People United’s Arts and Kindness Weeks please click here.