Introduction Parents want their children to be happy. Can we teach happy? Yes, because
happiness comes from compassion for others and contentment within our-
selves, and those values are what the activities in this book help develop.
This book is intended for family child care settings, child care centers, the
home, Head Start programs, preschools, hospitals, homeless shelters, and any-
where young children are being cared for.
Young children learn from the repetition of concrete experience. The fun
activities in this book help them develop compassion for others by practicing
simple, powerful lessons that incrementally foster love, feelings and empathy,
gentleness, self-control, respect, friendship, and conflict resolution.
Organization of the Book
Each of the first eight chapters of The Kindness Curriculum involves a building
block of character development. These chapters contain activities that are new
or revised since the first edition.
The first chapter, “Creating Calm,” sets the stage for prosocial play. Calm
children are better able to choose positive behavior than are stressed-out ones,
who may feel out of control. Activities in this chapter help children feel calm
and choose kindness. The next four chapters deal with the fundamental val-
ues of love, feelings and empathy, gentleness, and respect. In these chapters,
children are introduced to the concepts of unselfishness, understanding, and
valuing themselves and others. The following three chapters, “Self-Control,”
“Friendship,” and “Conflict Resolution,” provide experience in dealing with
others in constructive and enriching ways.
Chapter 8, “Conflict Resolution,” is designed to help prevent bullying before
it starts. The goal here is to cut off potential bullying behaviors before they
become entrenched and to build up resilience/resistance to hurtful behavior.
With consistent and systematic repetition of the problem-solving activities in
this chapter, you are likely to see a strong impact on the level of cooperation
among the children. As a result, your learning environment will function more