5th grade PE students recently participated in a 21-day kindness project. As part of the project, students were asked to contribute to a shared Google journal with quick sentences about something kind they chose to do that day. The project had two objectives: to reinforce and build upon a culture of kindness in TGS athletics and to create a positive habit, which the students learned research shows takes 21 days.
“Over the past several years, I have tried to create a culture in our athletics program that says that we are the school that has good sportsmanship, that shows up and kids don’t talk trash, that there’s always some kindness between teams,” Athletics Director Angela Earnhart said. “I feel now like it is starting to catch on, and I wanted to focus on that with the fifth graders, because as they continue and get into the high school, we’ve started that culture when they are young.”
As students spent three weeks developing a kindness habit, they also got to experience how to create a positive habit of any kind. In working to maintain their habit, students learned about consistency, determination, and accountability to themselves and to others. Here, the shared kindness journal especially helped, as students not only recorded their own efforts but knew that their classmates were expecting this effort from them.
Ultimately, Coach Earnhart sees an important connection between kindness and other healthy habits students learn to develop. “You want to move every day. You want to eat healthy every day. There are things that you want to have in your life every single day that are positive towards how you are as a person, both inside and out.”
"I love teaching at TGS because we can teach to the students' needs. Being able to team-teach a Sports and Conditioning class and tailor workouts to fit our athletes' needs isn't something that you find at every school. We have the ability to be creative in our P.E. games and focus on the activities that students enjoy, not to mention that we are able to leave campus and go on bike rides! There is no place I'd rather teach!"
Angela Earnhart received her B.A. from the University of Arizona. She joined The Gregory School faculty in 2015.