As the children file in, they write their names beneath an emotion written on the whiteboard–some under ‘angry,’ ‘tired’ or ‘sad,’ others under ‘happy.’ And one by one, the teacher acknowledges the emotion of each student. All feelings are welcome, and the children start their day being seen as they are in that moment–there is no wrong emotion. In this gentle way, they learn to simply acknowledge the varying complex emotions we all have within us. It may seem like a simple routine, but it has already made a significant difference to children all over Australia.

Often, we only see the grand gestures as a way of measuring generosity. Yet, the multiple little moments of kindness and empathy can change our sense of connection and make a huge difference to our feeling of belonging in the world.

Katrina Cavanough was a therapist exhausted from years of working with children and adults who had lost self-connection because of varying degrees of trauma. In 2004, she realised the trauma she was witnessing was amplified due to something fundamentally missing in childhood learning. The school system was lacking something vital.

The schools had great behavioural programmes. But I noticed two missing ingredients. The first missing ingredient was empathy. And the other missing ingredient was neuroscience.
Katrina developed a program, Kindness on Purpose, for all young students, starting in early childhood and reaching through until high school graduation. Her vision was to inspire a more emotionally aware generation. In 2005, the first Kindness on Purpose session took place and had an instant beneficial impact.
Kindness on Purpose — by Ashleigh Wilson