Kindness Before Anything Else

I am sitting in my office feeling rather rosie and warm after spending the day on the field at our Prep Sports Day. The event is a prime example of what makes Yateley Manor so special. As I commented in the programme, the day encapsulates all six of our core values, namely community, happiness, reflectiveness, resilience, teamwork and relationships. There were so many examples of these core values being lived by the school community today.

One such example happened very early on in the day. A group of children had set off around the track and, on one of the bends, one of them fell and hurt their ankle. Another child immediately stopped to look after the injured child. This act of kindness was witnessed by many of the spectators and some of them commented how incredible it was to watch.

We know that deciding to be generous or cooperating with others activates an area of the brain called the striatum. Interestingly, this area responds to things we find rewarding, such as nice food. The feel-good emotion from helping has been termed “warm glow” and the activity we see in the striatum is the likely biological basis of that feeling. Research in psychology shows a link between kindness and well-being throughout life, starting at a very young age. In fact, even just reflecting on having been kind in the past may be enough to improve a teenagers’ mood.

Most people would like to think of themselves as a kind person, so acts of kindness help us to demonstrate that positive identity and make us feel proud of ourselves. Being kind can make us feel better as a person, more complete, leading to feelings of happiness. This effect is even more powerful when the kind act links with other aspects of our personality, perhaps creating a more purposeful feeling. For example, an animal-lover could rescue a bird, an art-lover could donate to a gallery or a retired teacher could volunteer at an after-school group. Research suggests that the more someone identifies with the organisation to which they belong, the more satisfied they are.

Congratulations to every child who took part today. You all showed perseverance and a desire to do your very best. We could not have asked for more. Thank you to everybody for making it such an amazing event.

Special congratulations, however, to the many children, families and staff who demonstrated our core values. The core values of our school are values we hold which form the foundation on which we perform work and conduct ourselves. There are a multitude of values from which to choose, but six of them are so primary, so important to us that throughout changes in our lives they are still the core values we will abide by.

Community. Happiness. Reflectiveness. Resilience. Teamwork. Relationships