Research shows that students who learn in a positive environment have a better school experience — they enjoy higher test scores, learn new skills at a faster rate, and are overall happier at school. We're in our third year of researching the implementation of our lesson plans in classrooms across two school districts, and we’ve witnessed first-hand that practicing kindness in the classroom transforms not only students, but teachers and entire school cultures as well.
Free Lesson Plans
Want to improve classroom climate? Check out our free K-8 lesson plans designed to boost social emotional learning (SEL) and promote skills for healthy decision-making, positive relationships, and problem solving using head and heart. All lesson plans are age-appropriate, evidence-based, aligned with Common Core & Colorado State Standards, and offered in both English and Spanish.
Get started by downloading our new Teacher Guide (PDF)
Get started by downloading our new Teacher Guide (PDF)
Kindness Project Ideas
Looking for fun kindness-based activities for your classroom? We've compiled dozens of great ideas to engage your students, start conversations, spur random acts of kindness, and build an overall community of kindness at your school. Visit our kindness project ideas page for details.
We offer a variety of other kindness resources that are sure to inspire kindness in you and your students. You can download and share kindness calendars, posters, cards, and videos.
If you really like doing random acts of kindness and don't already have a club in your school, perhaps you should start a RAK Club. Visit our Kindness Clubs page for helpful tips on getting started. Once you get going, we'll list your club on our website.
Is there science behind kindness? There is evidence that being kind can make a real difference to the well-being and health of individuals who both practice and receive it. Find the latest kindness research here.
The Benefits of Kindness Education
Kindness is a natural anti depressant because it causes a release of serotonin in our brain. Serotonin plays an important part in learning, memory, mood, sleep, health and digestion. It heightens our sense of well being, increases energy and gives a wonderful feeling of positivity and self worth.
In a famous study undertaken by Dr Sonja Lyubomirsky, Professor, University of California, students were asked to commit five random acts of kindness a week for six weeks. They showed a 41.66% increase in happiness.
The Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey, overseen by Harvard University researchers found those who volunteered time or money to help others were 42 per cent more likely to describe themselves as happy.
When children are happy and feel good about themselves, they have a positive outlook which allows them greater attention spans and enables more creative thinking.
Increased Self Esteem
Kind, happy children get along better with others and are less likely to disrupt the class to gain attention.
When children are getting along, they’re able to work together in a calm and sensible way which means you can spend more time teaching and less time on discipline.
Kind children know that making others feel good also makes them happy. They want to be around those who treat them with respect and know what it means to be a good friend. Kind children are well liked, have more friends, are more included, feel better about themselves and are therefore less likely to bully.
When you have happy, co-operative children, you have a peaceful, productive classroom. You won’t need to discipline your children as much which means they’ll also like you more.
When children have less to worry about and feel more positive about themselves, their friends and their environment, they’re able to concentrate on learning to achieve better results.
Positive School Culture
Happy children means positive, capable children, which in turn creates happy, relaxed teachers and a positive school culture.
Incorporating Ripple Kindness Project into your classroom doesn’t need to be stressful and your initial investment of time can create huge benefits for not just your students, but for the whole school and it’s community.
Comprehensive character education addresses many tough issues in education while developing a positive school climate. It can be effective in any school setting, as our National Schools of Character demonstrate. Educators from this diverse array of schools have transformed their school cultures, reduced discipline referrals, increased academic achievement for all learners, developed global citizens, and improved job satisfaction and retention among teachers.
Because students spend so much time in school, our schools offer a critically important opportunity to ensure that all students get the support and help they need to reach their full potential. Schools that embrace character education become places people want to be because they bring out the best in everyone.
To be effective in schools, character education must involve everyone—school staff, parents, students, and community members—and be part of every school day. It must be integrated into the curriculum as well as school culture. When this happens and school communities unite around developing character, schools see amazing results.
Character education is not new—and it is something we can all agree on. It was an important objective for the first U.S. public schools and today it is mandated or encouraged in most states. The current movement is simply a reminder of education’s long history of stressing shared values and character.
Effective character education takes time, as Aaron Chalker, of 2011 National School of Character Pierce Elementary School, can attest. But the results are well worth it. Watch this video to learn more about effective character education.
The 11 Principles of Effective Character Education are the cornerstone of CEP’s philosophy on effective character education. Each principle outlines vital aspects of character education initiatives that should not be overlooked in program implementation. From curriculum integration to extra-curricular activities, from parent and community partnerships to staff development – the 11 Principles of Effective Character Education offer fundamental guidance for educators and community leaders to maximize their character education outcomes.
Learn more about the criteria CEP uses to determine its National Schools of Character by downloading our 11 Principles of Effective Character Education.
Additional resources to learn more about character education:
Browse NSOC Lesson Plans
Each lesson plan relates to CEP's 11 Principles of Effective Character Education. Download our framework to learn more.