American Snapshot: 5th graders teach younger students kindness


PROSPECT, Conn. (WTNH) — From the mouth of babes — fifth-grade students at a Connecticut elementary school are taking on leadership roles passing on to their younger peers what they’ve learned over their years at school about being kind to others.

“The Kindness Council is a big committee, but we’re split into three different kinds of committees. We have the random acts of kindness committee, the look for the good committee, and the inclusion committee,” said Joao Amancio, a Prospect Elementary School fifth-grader.

Amancio has the meaning of the council down pat; he’s already a leader and an ambassador for good.

Administrators brought this to the school to ensure all students feel included every day. The oldest students in the school, fifth-graders, take their lessons learned to kindergartners and mentor them about the right way to do things in life.

“They love it when the older kids come into their classrooms, and the fifth-graders love it when they come into the younger kids’ classrooms,” said Amy Lamaine, a school counselor.

Other parts of the program include putting down in their own words people and things that bring them joy and happiness.  

“Every day, they have to write on stickies what they’re grateful for. We have a grateful wall that they put them on every morning, and they also write kind letters to one person, or maybe it’s two people, and in the end, after they write it, they share it with that person to let them know why they are grateful for them,” said Heather Goduti, a social worker.

The kids have learned that everybody matters.

“This is definitely important because it helps other people and younger people to understand that being different is OK,” said Giavanna Savarese, a fifth-grader.

Random acts of kindness are the norm at Prospect Elementary, and so is respect for others. It makes for a wonderful community in which to learn.

“It helps to really point out the good things that happen in schools and promote the good things, which can get overlooked in our world sometimes. It helps to really acknowledge the small things that make a difference and can brighten the days of the students and the staff,” said Jeff Haddad, assistant principal at Prospect Elementary School.

NewsNation affiliate WTNH contributed to this report.

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