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Teachers in Ridgefield create 'kindness tree' for students to showcase good deeds

Students at South Ridge Elementary are encouraged to record and recognize acts of kindness by writing them down on paper leaves.
Credit: Ridgefield School District
This is a “Kindness Tree” made out of construction paper that keeps growing by the day.

RIDGEFIELD, Wash. — Students at South Ridge Elementary in Ridgefield, Washington share acts of kindness on a construction-paper tree.

The kindness tree project started after the school's fourth-grade class discussed how they could demonstrate goodness to others. It started as a bare tree trunk in early October and is now filled with acts of goodwill including: a friend who talked with them when they were sad, a classmate who helped pick up dropped papers in the hallway, and a parent who helped them solved a difficult problem. 

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Teachers encouraged students to record acts of kindness by writing them down on paper leaves and place them in a box in the hallway to be added to the branches. A teacher's daughter who attends Sunset Ridge Intermediate School then adds the new leaves to the branches after school each day. 

“It was a small effort on our part,” fourth-grade teacher Jackie Bergeron said. “I think it will have a lasting impact. Kindness becomes something the kids can see and touch and hold. And we can always use more kindness.”

Until recently, the high traffic whiteboard area was unused. Teachers decided to repurpose the space for a colorful, visual reminder of how often students recognize an act of kindness in their lives. 

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It not only records acts of kindness, it's inspiring them too. The school says the project correlates with National Bully Prevention Month and the messages reinforce the school's ongoing efforts to create a safe and welcoming environment for all students.