School & Community News

A Kindness Tree grows at Whitehall
November 17, 2019
Healthy Reporter staffers asked third graders about times they had experienced kindness.

November 2019 … Kindness is among the topics that student reporters for Healthy NewsWorks school newspapers have been exploring this fall.

At Whitehall Elementary School in Norristown, the staff of the Healthy Reporter and their teacher, Mrs. Mulligan, took the assignment a step further. They asked the school’s third graders to remember a time when someone had been kind to them at school and how that kindness made them feel.

The result? A Kindness Tree, filled with leaves on which the third graders had written their feelings about having been the object of unexpected acts of kindness.

The tree is meant to encourage students in all Whitehall grades (and possibly some adults) to be grateful for kindness shown to them and to be kind to others.

The tree, posted in a second-floor hallway, was painted by Ms. Wertley, the school’s art teacher.

Through the readings and exercises on kindness, Healthy NewsWorks reporters have learned that showing kindness can be powerful. It is “one of the most significant contributors to a positive school climate,” says StopBullying.gov, a federal government website that provides information on preventing bullying and building a safe school environment, one of the resources the reporters studied.

The Healthy Reporter will publish an article on the Kindness Tree in its fall edition, along with interviews with Whitehall teachers about why kindness is important.

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Since 2003, Healthy NewsWorks has been empowering elementary and middle school students to become researchers, writers, and confident communicators who advance health understanding and literacy through their factual publications and digital media.