May 13, 2020
Mental Health Awareness week, hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, takes places from 18-24 May 2020 and, the theme this year is kindness.
The foundation chose kindness as the theme this year ‘because of its singular ability to unlock our shared humanity. Kindness strengthens relationships, develops community and deepens solidarity.’
During the current crisis, we have seen many acts of kindness and the generosity of the human spirit. These attributes were demonstrated and on show when members of the team visited the Our Big Kitchen project in Australia last year and saw first-hand the impact that the project, had on children and volunteers within the community.
“The experience of Our Big Kitchen, was very rewarding. I have learnt many things like how hard some people have it, and how important food is. The experience taught me how fortunate we are, and how necessary food preservation is. It was an experience that makes you incredibly thankful for what we have and proud of helping the community” – Aurelia Age 14 .
Our Big Kitchen inspires individuals to come together to help people in need. The team of volunteers make and distribute meals to disadvantaged Australians and are at the heart of the project, enabling its big acts of kindness to happen, a place that inspires giving and kindness all the times and provided the catalyst for our Serial Mash story – ‘Our Big Kitchen’.
Our fictional story follows Sienna and her journey through hardship and how the kindness of others and the support of the Our Big Kitchen Charity is imperative to her and others in her situation. The Serial Mash story is told over 7 chapters and throughout, the powerful message of giving shines through. Each chapter is accompanied by a range of activities to enable the children to reflect on Sienna and her journey and how we can all help each other, and that small acts of kindness can make a big difference to the world, by inspiring people to be givers.
Activities that could be used during the week include:
Inspired by the book and this activity, Brown Elementary School in Michigan, USA has set up their own kindness blog, this would be an amazing idea to replicate during this week, with children sharing what kindness means to them and how they can spread kindness.
What does kindness mean? It means being a friend, thinking about others first, having good manners, and treating others the same way that you would like to be treated. Also, helping others in need and sharing. Mason
Wearing masks for good
Another excellent book from Serial Mash to use during this week is ‘Replica Face’ – this is featured in the Weekly activities for this week for ages 7-9 year olds. Imagine being able to turn into somebody else. That’s what happens to Safia when she finds an old mask. She has the choice to use the mask for good or bad.
We all often wear different masks in our lives. When we are unkind in our behaviour, it is often like wearing a vicious mask. Do we always present ourselves with a kind mask? How does your avatar change how you are seen by others? Children can use the avatar creator to make and download avatars that represent different aspects of their personality or even how they would like to be. Children can take a photo of themselves wearing a mask and write about how the mask makes them feel. My behaviour masks, is an activity where children can explore how their behaviour at times can hide their true feelings and write about some examples
Acts of kindness
During the week, children could reflect on an act of kindness, by sharing their pictures and stories, children could use 2Paint a Picture and 2Publish Plus to share their stories as well as sharing their ideas on how we could all work together to build a kinder society.