***This post has been cross-posted on the #Kinderchat blog as part of #NaBloPoMo.***

A few of my online discussions of late have centred around the word CARE. More and more, I feel like CARE should be my classroom motto…rule…mantra…whatever word you’d like to use…because more than ever, I feel that sometimes our world has forgotten the meaning of the word and I think at it is my job to teach my students to CARE. Not in a worrisome, anxiety-causing way, but in a genuine, heart-felt manner. We all need to care about each other, care about ourselves, and care for the world.

The Virtues Project provides a wonderful definition of caring:

“Caring is giving love and attention to people and things that matter to you. When you care about people, you help them. You do a careful job, giving your very best effort. You treat people and things gently and respectfully. Caring makes the world a safer place.”

First of all, we need to care for each other. We need to be concerned for each other’s well being, be it physical or emotional. We need to feel that the people around us are important and worthy of concern. We must value each other in order to care and act in a manner that shows that value…using kind words (in person and online), gentle actions and considerate manners. Job #1 in my classroom is teaching my students how to show their care for each other. It doesn’t matter if our conversations are face to face in our classroom, in writing, on twitter, or via Skype, we must always use care in choosing our words. Kind words and acting in a caring manner towards one another are expected in my class.

We also must care for ourselves. My students are only five, so they are still learning self-care…tying shoes, zipping zippers, washing hands before they eat…and thinking positive thoughts about themselves. This kind of care is crucial for my students to learn to grow up to be thoughtful of their own needs and health, both physically and emotional. Negative self-talk is something I discourage…instead I teach my students to be brave, to try new things and have confidence in their abilities. I try to teach them to care about the effort that they put into their work at school, and hopefully that transfers to caring in a healthy way about how they present themselves in life.

And of course we cannot forget about showing care for our world…both our immediate environment as well as the greater environment of our planet. It is irresponsible of us to throw our garbage on the ground, it is bad manners to leave our coats lying on the floor, and we all need to work together and care about our surroundings together.

The word CARE is not only important in kindergarten, it is important in LIFE. As a world, we must care more for each other, care more for ourselves and care more for our environment. There are so many caring people out there, but unfortunately it is the uncaring ones that often are highlighted in the media. Our world can be a dark, cruel place at times. I think back on 2012 and some of the horrific, tragic events…Amanda Todd’s bullying and subsequent suicide…the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut…the ambush of firefighters in Webster, New York…and it makes me wonder…what if CARE had a bigger focus in our homes and schools? Could some of these tragedies have been prevented?

If nothing else, we must learn from our surroundings and past events. Change now can’t bring back those we have lost, BUT we can make positive change for the future of our world. Bringing CARE into focus just might change the world as we know it, if we can only learn to really CARE about and for each other, ourselves, and our world.


4 thoughts on “Care

  1. This comment is cross posted on the #kinderchat blog too.

    A wonderful post Michelle. This post hits home with me because this fall, before my class was a “school family”, I felt like I was doing all the caring of and for my students. I had a lot of self doubt. However, I worked very hard to set up the tone I wanted for my class and we did become a “school family”. Now the caring for one another is shared amongst all of us, and I am no longer the only one doing the comforting or celebrating. Care is a very powerful word. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Well said – while in my master’s I had the privilege of being introduced to the work of Nel Noddings and her notion of “leading with an ethic of care”. We need more of this. The “feminist” approach of leading with care can be so powerful as we model and teach in a way that shows people are important and that the long-term relationship trumps the temporary struggles. Thanks so much for sharing this important post.

    • Thank you, Chris. One of my favourite hashtags in #kinderchat applies here, too…#relationshipsmatter. Without the caring relationships, schools are but institutions pumping out a product. Hopefully the matter of care creates a better learning and working environment for all students and teachers.

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