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Kindness Ninjas at R.L. Beattie make magic with Grade 9 students at Lo-Ellen Park

What happens when you pair the Kindergarten Kindness Ninjas from R.L. Beattie Public School with Grade 9 French Immersion students at Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School?

A buddy mentorship that is meaningful and magical.

A partnership that began three years ago continues to flourish as the younger and older French Immersion students come together to spread love and kindness within their respective schools and the Lo-Ellen Park/South End community.

“This year, the students worked together to write kindness messages on paper which were later made into special kindness packages,” says R.L. Beattie Kindergarten teacher Alyssa Leveille. “On May 31st, students from both classes spread love to the entire Lo-Ellen Park school community as they teamed up to hand out kindness packages and special treats during the high school lunch hour. It’s been amazing to invite these older students to join us in our kindness missions,” adds Designated Early Childhood Educator Stephanie Rivard.

This was the culminating activity in a school year marked by kindness initiatives that occurred mostly online. It was preceded by the group’s first face-to-face meeting two weeks earlier where they joined together to prepare the kindness messages, which were translated into French with the help of the Grade 9 buddies. The kindness packages included the messages, Air Heads candy and an emoji keychain.

You are valued. Be yourself. Smile, life is beautiful. Take time to appreciate what you have. Be confident! Let your smile change the world. You are loved! Follow your dreams. Happiness doubles when you share it. Don’t be discouraged. Be happy in all that you do. Do your best. I believe in you. You are unique. You’re extraordinary, don’t forget it. Positive people attract other positive people. A smile is worth a thousand words. Mistakes are what make us human.

For the Kindness Ninja buddies, the messages were meant to put a little sunshine in their lives and the lives of others or, as their educators say, “des petits messages de bienveillance bilingues qui vous permettront de mettre du soleil dans votre vie et celle des autres.”

“The relationship between Kindergarten students and older buddies is something truly magical,” says Alyssa Leveille. “Students who are normally very quiet and reserved are seen interacting and developing great friendships with their older buddies.”

Adds Stephanie Rivard: “Older students are able to take on new responsibilities by being in charge of younger students all while being presented with opportunities to think of others and to give back to their local community. We hope to continue this partnership between both schools as a yearly tradition and can’t wait to see what next year brings.”

Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School Grade 9 teacher Sylvie Tripp says she has been able to include curriculum expectations as part of the partnership.  “Last fall, I taught a Grade 9 French class. Students wrote pen pal letters to their little Kindness Ninja as a writing task in our course. It was a lot of fun. The students got a video response from their Kindergarten buddies, which was really special.”

She has also noticed a lot of smiles all around. “The children bring out the best in the older students,” she says. “The entire Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School community enjoyed receiving kindness packages from the Kindergarten students. A smile is indeed worth a thousand words.”

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Media Contact:
Nicole Charette, Senior Advisor,
Corporate Communications and Strategic Planning,
Rainbow District School Board, 705-674-3171 ext. 7217.