This holiday season, one school in Ireland came up with a brilliant idea to help spread joy and help kids learn the value of giving gifts with meaning instead of high price tags. Rather than trying to get kids to focus on after school lessons, they’re ditching homework and assigning acts of kindness, instead!
Irish School Ditches Homework and Assigns Acts of Kindness Instead
While many of us would love to see schools ban homework (or at least significantly reduce it) year-round, I think we can all agree that December is the worst month to pile it on. After all, kids are supposed to be spending more time with family, not working on times tables! Not to mention, all the excitement of the season makes it incredibly hard for kids to concentrate on something as mundane as spelling words or history worksheets.
Rather than fighting a losing battle and trying to get kids to stay focused on boring tasks, the Gaelscoil Mhichil Ui Choileain in Clonakilty, Ireland is instead directing it into something positive. Their brilliant idea? Ditch traditional homework entirely for the month of December. Instead, kids have one very special assignment: Do random acts of kindness.
How the Gaelscoil Mhichil Ui Choileain is spreading kindness
Clonakilty Gaelscoil pupils undertaking kindness acts in lieu of December homework!!For the third year running, pupils…
In their Facebook post, the school says: “For the third year running, pupils at Gaelscoil Mhíchíl Uí Choileáin, Clonakilty will not have any formal homework for the month of December!
Instead, they are asked to carry out acts of kindness and giving to others in their families and community – and to record these in a special “Dialann Cineáltais” (Kindness Diary) which each pupil will fill in daily which will then be signed by their parents.”
Administrators go on to explain that the project was inspired by the success of last year’s “gratitude” project. Kids kept a diary detailing the small things that made them feel grateful. This year, instead of focusing on their own joy, they’re mission is to spread that same good feeling to others.
Like a homework schedule, the kids have specific assignments that they must do on different days of the week. After they complete each assignment, they put it in their diary (either by writing or drawing pictures). Parents then sign off on them, so it really helps get everyone in the family involved. If you want to try it yourself, take a look at their schedule:
- Monday – Brighten the day of an elderly person. Kids can call them, send a letter, or even stop by for a visit.
- Tuesday- Do chores (outside of their regular ones, of course) to help make their parents’ lives easier.
- Wednesday- Random acts of kindness day, make someone’s life better with a kind word or simple act.
- Thursday- Self-kindness acts. Kids do something that makes them feel good about themselves.
- Friday- While this wasn’t listed on their schedule, they have another initiative that takes place on Fridays. Keep reading to learn more.
Other Kindness Initiatives at the Gaelscoil Mhíchíl Uí Choileáin School
The Kindness Diary made news because it completely replaces homework. However, it isn’t the only way the school is spreading joy this year. They also have a special “Buicéad Cineáltais” (kindness bucket) for kids to write down nice things about each other. Every Friday throughout the season, teachers share random selections from the bucket with classmates. The goal? To show kids that even just a kind word can change someone’s day for the better.
From small acts to grand finales, the school has one more great initiative in play. It’s called “Gníomh Cineáltais Ranga,” or Class Kindness Act. Throughout the entire month, each class spends some time thinking about unique ways that they can make the holidays better for their whole community together. Kids lead the entire project. Staff may help guide their ideas and flesh them out, but children come up with the general plan and put it into action.
The school hopes that by spending an entire month learning about kindness, kids will discover that helping others really makes us feel good about ourselves, too. Their hope is that children will realize that making someone’s life better and brighter is an even better gift than an expensive new toy.
“We hope that this new Kindness Initiative will make the preparation for Christmas all the more meaningful and special.” I think we can all agree that it certainly does!
Also, don’t forget, kind people are the smartest of all according to experts. In other words, teaching them empathy at a young age helps them as much as it helps others. If you’re looking for more tips to get kids into the giving spirit, I also recommend my post on 7 amazing books that will teach your kids kindness.