We All Do Good Things: schools  is an arts programme celebrating kindness in schools. The first phase of the project made a lasting difference to the way primary school children feel and act towards other people.

  • Children who took part were significantly more willing to care for and help members of their community and felt more positive about other groups – even several months later according to research from the University of Kent
  • 3 schools, 1,800 pupils, 100 staff, 19 artists and 2,000 parents and members of the community were involved in the first phase of the project.
  • 500 stories, a series of regional radio items, a 32-page book, a full-colour magazine, 2 public performances and 3 community exhibitions arose out of it.
  • Kent County Council distributed a “Kindness Guide” to every primary school in the district following the project’s early successes.

The aims

The project aimed to:

  • celebrate, share and encourage the good things that people do
  • highlight the potential for good in all of us
  • demonstrate the power of the arts to make a difference.

What we did

We wanted to encourage not just specific acts of kindness, but the idea of kindness as a way of being. We worked with psychologists to see how we might be able to do this, and to design a way of evaluating how successful it was.

Then we brought in professional arts practitioners to put theory into practice at three primary schools, two in Kent and one in Halifax. They worked with every pupil and member of staff over the course of a whole school year to celebrate acts of kindness in creative ways.

Activities included:

  • creating comic strips and magazine
  • writing stories and putting on performances
  • workshops with Andrew Motion, then Poet Laureate, and South African musicians
  • making kindness badges and get-well-soon cards
  • interviewing residents from a local care home
  • making smoothies for the local emergency services
  • … and much more!

The impact

The evaluation showed that children who took part were significantly:

  • more willing to care, share and comfort other children in distress
  • less likely to feel prejudiced towards other groups (in this case, children from other schools)

Interviews at the beginning of the following school year – five months later – showed children from the project schools remained significantly more likely to hold these positive attitudes than those from similar schools that hadn’t taken part.

Researchers concluded the project was “highly successful at effecting the changes in attitude and behaviour it was designed for”.

Evidence also showed that the project:

  • helped children develop self-confidence
  • enhanced the learning environment
  • helped schools build links with the community

Kindness Guide

With the support of Kent County Council, we have provided a “Kindness Guide” to every primary school in the county (right) or visit our resources page.

Contact us

If you’re interested in running a similar project in your school, we’d be delighted to help so please contact us. We’d love to tell you more about what we do – and to hear your ideas.

 

by N. Clyne