In these uncertain times, Nueva students are the tides of change, leading the next generation to be kinder than the one before. On Monday, February 5, dozens of lower school students raised their colorful, handmade signs in a Kindness March to spread love and compassion around Nueva.
Led in a rally cry by first grader Kaci G., who was inspired by her recent participation in the Women’s March in San Francisco, students marched to their own beat around the Hillsborough campus chanting, “Hey Hey! Ho Ho! Kindness is the way to go!” With signs reading “Be Kind!” “Choose Kindness over Hate!” and “Fill Someone’s Bucket!” students in the Lower School followed Kaci on a route they mapped out the week before, spending their recess time spreading kindness and smiles.
Kaci’s mother, Lisa Garosi, said, “Kaci liked being a part of the crowd [in the San Francisco Women’s March], knowing they were doing something bigger than themselves.” Being in an environment at Nueva where students are empowered to speak their minds and to share and implement their ideas, Kaci felt passionate about sharing the energy she felt at the Women’s March with her classmates, and “it grew beyond what she originally envisioned in her head.”
Kaci is a member of Nueva’s Community Committee, which meets on Mondays in the Lower School with the goal to “Make Nueva Better.” “There was a big focus this year on community and taking care of each other,” said lower school SEL teacher Lisa Hinshelwood. Whoever wanted to join the Kindness March was welcome at the Community Committee meeting the week before the March to help make eye-catching signs. Messages to “treat people the way you want to be treated” permeated the room, with kind words like “I love your poster!” being spoken from student to student.
Social-emotional learning, Nueva's internationally recognized program, has been fundamental to the school’s commitment to nurture the whole child since its inception in 1967. The skills of SEL are formally taught at every grade level beginning in prekindergarten, with curriculum spiraling through topics and presented in age-appropriate forms as students progress from year to year. Nueva students learn in a safe environment where their passions are supported, their questions encouraged, their ideas welcomed. When Kaci attended the Women’s March, she said she “thought lots of people would like it and would be nicer to each other and the community.” Thanks to her teachers and community, only two weeks passed from her original idea to the actual march.
By Louise Schultze, Interim Director of Communications
February 14, 2018