In a time of anxiety, fear, and plenty of bad news, the Kindergarten class decided to focus on the good news.
The whole project began with a lesson on empathy.
It all started when the Kindergarten students watched a news report about a four-year-old girl who was frustrated with confinement. She cried and vented her exasperation about having her dance classes cancelled. When Ms. Michelle and Ms. Clara asked their students if they ever felt like this girl, the response was immediate: they knew exactly how the girl felt. They too had missed out on birthday parties, playdates, and trips to see their grandparents.
They talked about the range of emotions experienced during confinement (fear, sadness, anger, frustration), how we individually dealt with our feelings, and how there is comfort in knowing others can relate.While the lesson on empathy was a success, Ms. Michelle and Ms. Clara wanted to end on a more upbeat note. They came up with the idea of ‘sending a hug’ to someone who may be feeling frustrated or lonely from confinement (much like we had felt).
This focus on positivity and good news was also inspired by a web series called Some Good News which was created during the first months of confinement by American actor, John Krasinski. From his home he broadcasted “a news show dedicated entirely to good news.” He encouraged the public to look for good news and share it with others. That is exactly what Class KG was doing.
Some students wrote to neighbors here in Belgium and others wrote to relatives as far away as Austria, Israel, Turkey, Canada and the United States. We knew the post would be slow so we also wrote to some of our ECC teachers and staff in hopes of receiving good news more quickly.The students made a mailbox and placed it outside of the classroom door. We watched clips of Krasinski’s Some Good News and decided we could be reporters too. We could make a newscast of the good news arriving in our mailbox; we could spread positivity too.
Over the course of several weeks, the students worked on creating a newsroom. They used their imagination, creativity and problem-solving skills to make props (a newsroom office, desk, computer, telephone, clock, microphones, video cameras and signs).
The props, made out of cardboard and recycled materials from our Makerspace were set up in the open area and used for dramatic play. Students roleplayed being reporters or interviewees so that they would be ready for filming.
Gradually we started to receive letters. We discovered stories about wonderful things happening in our very own building (such as Oscar in Preschool who collects sticks from the bike path in the forest so the bikes won’t fall) and stories from relatives in other countries (such as Ori’s grandfather in Israel who rescued 30 cats).
“It was lovely to hear stories about simple things that sometimes get overlooked but bring joy (such as walks with grandma or the rain that helps our gardens grow). Other stories were of gratitude (such as clapping for the health care workers every evening) and many more were about helping others (donating time or goods, sharing food or flowers). Each student chose a story to report on and practiced what they wanted to say. We took our props to the green screen room where we then recorded our newscast. There was so much excitement on set! The students were proud of what they had created. It felt very ‘real’ and purposeful. With the help of one of the PreK interns (Denise Kik) the video clips were then edited into ‘Some Good News – International School of Brussels – Kindergarten Edition’ and was shared with the community. The video was a resounding success. We shared it with all of the KG families and the ECC community. ECC teachers shared the video with their classes and many students were delighted to recognize their teachers and friends. Many commented on how much they enjoyed the uplifting, joyful and inspiring message. They liked being reminded that there is good news out there and that they too can have a positive impact on others by doing simple gestures. Letters of good news continue to appear in our mailbox. Students in a first grade class wrote letters sharing their good news and a second grade class sent us a video in which they gave KG a round of applause. We still need to stay in our class ‘bubbles’ but this project has been a wonderful way to bring our community together.”Ms. Michelle Gonzalles, Kindergarten Teacher at ISB