Centennial Elementary school gives a space for kindness

Posted at 6:17 PM, Sep 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-24 20:17:25-04

It's something students feel when they make new friends, but it's not always easy to reach out.

Students at Centennial Elementary can now sit on these benches if they're alone and have no one to play with.

"If there's someone that feels like they're not being noticed here you go have a seat and someones going to come over and make sure you're taken care of," said principal of Centennial Elementary School Dr. Paul Harman. 

The unveiling kicks off their Kindness Week, a week dedicated to ending bullying with acts of kindness. 

4th grader Cayli Bonney experienced bullying at her last school and says it made her not want to go. She usually loves going to school. 

Bullying can happen at any school, but it isn't always obvious.

"A lot of it is that behind the back rolling their eyes mean looks," says school counselor Margot McLeod. 

McLeod says she sees bullying start as early as second grade and it significantly affects a child's ability to learn.

"Over time when that kid is socially excluded, and it's happening on a regular basis they're just not able to learn, and they're spending so much of their time thinking what can I do differently, and it really takes away a lot of their learning." - counselor 

Every week students go to her class, where she teaches an anti-bullying curriculum. It centers around conflict resolution and putting yourself in someone else's shoes. 

"The more we can understand the road other people are taking the easier it is to give them maybe a break at that moment and work through those challenges " - counselor 

The compassion learned in her class works as a tool in every kid's toolbox to help end the cycle. 

"I think you should try and show them kindness try and be their friend and they might be nice back," says 4th grader Cylis Prien. 

While this is just one week of the school year, there's now a physical place to sit and show kindness to others year-round.