What does kindness mean to you? That is the thought-provoking question asked of pupils and staff at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Jarrow to kickstart their Kindness Matters Week. The school, which is part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, is the first Kindness Matters school in South Tyneside.

Founded in 2012 by John Magee, AKA the Kindness Coach, Kindness Matters teaches kindness and wellbeing to schoolchildren and teachers – and he visited the school as part of Kindness Matters Week.

In the lead-up to Kindness Matters Week, the children completed a 30-day Kindness Matters Challenge. Every day, the pupils were given a task such as say something nice to their teacher, say thank you for their lunch or write a letter to a pensioner. They then completed a Kindness Matters journal where they could each reflect on their day.

Paul Craig, headteacher of St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, said: “We understand that we live in a society where kindness is not always at the forefront of our thoughts. Pupils often see examples of selfishness, thoughtlessness and hate, through social media, on the news or in the community that they live in. As a school, we promote kindness on a day-to-day basis, but sometimes it is important that kindness is the number one message.

The week opened with a special Kindness Matters liturgy, led by the school’s Year 6 pupils. The school has also created a video featuring pupils, staff and governors, each explaining what kindness means to them. The Trust’s CEO Brendan Tapping said in the video: “Kindness really matters. For me, it’s often small acts that make a difference. It can be something as simple as making a cup of tea for somebody who comes in late to a meeting and providing them with a drink.

Rock Kidz also visited the school to work with pupils focusing on being kind to yourself. All the staff and pupils came to school dressed up channelling their inner rock god or rock goddess with the day concluding with a concert.

And, to conclude the week’s activities, John Magee led the school in a ‘Super Learning Day’, where he worked with each class on what they have done so far, and how they will move forward with Kindness Matters.

Working with John and the Rock Kidz team will give our pupils the opportunity to reflect on their kindness. It is also vital that we teach the children that it is not only about being kind to others, but also about being kind to themselves,” added Mr Craig.

Our Kindness video, which includes clips of pupils, families, our community and friends from across the country, shows kindness in many forms. From giving your brother your last sweet to helping Grandad with the washing up, shows how the most simplest tasks can make others feel good, with the warm ‘kindness glow’ that we all feel when we do something positive.

For more information about BCCET, please visit www.bccet.org.uk.

Further information:

Kindness Matters week was 13 – 17 March 2023.

For more information on Kindness Matters, visit https://kindnessmatters.co.uk/.

For more information on Rock Kids, visit https://www.rockkidzonline.com/.