St. Mark Catholic Elementary School’s primary students are dishing out acts and words of kindness by the bucketful.
The Grade 1 to 3 students are participating in a new character development program called Bucket Filling.
The program is based on the book, Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids by Carol McCloud. Students are encouraged to fill a bucket on a bulletin board outside their classrooms by completing acts of kindness and making kind statements about their classmates.
“The premise of the book is the idea that everyone carries an invisible bucket that holds our good thoughts and feelings. When our buckets are full, we feel happy and when our buckets are empty, we feel sad,” Grade 3 teacher Malini Kowalyshyn said. “The students feel good when they fill buckets by doing and saying things that are kind, considerate, caring and respectful. They also learn that when they make poor choices or say unkind things, they dip into buckets and remove those good feelings.”
Kowalyshyn said the school began implementing the program in January, after teachers found out about the book and approached the principal about putting its concept into practice.
“Our principal is always enforcing positive actions and kind deeds and acting like Jesus does, so when we presented it, she ended up buying the book for the entire division,” she said. “We shared it with the students and they’ve just kind of taken it and gone with it. It works well with our Catholic goals and our mission statement of doing onto others as Jesus teaches us.”
Kowalyshyn said the program helps students to think more positively.
“I think it’s teaching them that when you do kind things for others and say kind things to others, you’re making other people feel better and, in turn, you’re spreading good, loving gestures rather than focusing on negatives,” she said. “They’re telling us the kind things that are other people are doing and saying rather than looking for negative things, so it’s kind of changing the way they think.”
Kowalyshyn said students are being encouraged to be “bucket fillers” inside and outside the school.
“Some of them are already doing it at home and continuing it beyond the school,” she said. “If they get used to doing these positive actions then they’ll do it as part of their daily routine, so hopefully it will be lifelong.”