Vail preschool embraces ‘random acts of kindness’
February 13, 2012
VAIL, Colorado – With Valentine’s Day just around the corner Monday, a group of preschoolers at the Children’s Garden of Learning in Vail were a little single-minded about what an “act of kindness” might be.”Hugs!””Kisses!””Heart-shaped lollipops!”But the kids at the preschool will learn a bit more about random acts of kindness this week as part of a program the Children’s Garden started this year.Called “Random Acts of Children’s Kindness,” the program is part of National Random Acts of Kindness week. Parents, teachers and kids will all work together to try to brighten some lives in and around Vail with gestures as simple as giving out a card and a Hershey’s Kiss.The idea for the week of good-deed-doing came from Children’s Garden parent and board member Atlanta Meynier. Like many parents, Meynier watches for kids’ activities for both home and preschool. She ran across Random Acts of Kindness Week and started thinking about ways to translate that sentiment to terms preschoolers could easily grasp.Meynier and other board members soon had an idea for kid-friendly kit. It comes with some twine, a few clothespins and set of seven cars with suggestions for good things kids can do. Those suggestions range from “being good to the earth” – perhaps picking up trash – to leaving note for someone special or putting a quarter on a vending machine for the next person to use.To help expand the preschoolers’ idea of what’s possible, Meynier said some parents are coming up with ideas for the kids, including handing out chocolate kisses to people on buses, or lift operators.”After Christmas, when they’ve had the excitement of giving, we want to give them something a little different,” Meynier said. “We can give that same feeling of excitement with this – it gets to snowball how much they want to give away.”School director Jamie Jones said preschool is the perfect time to get kids involved in random acts of kindness – as long as there are parents or other adults around, of course.”Just to start big concepts like this is important,” Jones said. “We want to create good people.” While most of the kids at the preschool were just starting on their week of random acts Monday, Alivia Armistead, 4, had already been working on her list.”I’ve been nice to my neighbor, Anna,” Armistead said. “I gave her one of my flowers.”Since she’d received a big thank-you and a hug, Armistead said she planned to give Anna a “Valentime” Tuesday, just because it’s nice.Jones and Meynier said they hoped they can keep the random acts going, beyond this week, and beyond the confines of the preschool’s classrooms.”We want the kiddos thinking about how I can be nice in the community and still be safe,” Jones said.