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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL In chapter 9, children learn about the powerful technique of visualization, an effec- tive tool for improving behavior, boosting learning skills, and fostering creativity. The activities in each chapter are fun and easy to implement. You will find that children love them for the expression they allow and the playfulness they provide. As a group, the activities create an atmosphere of acceptance, empowerment, and love, encouraging children to seek out the goodness in themselves and each other. Many of the activities have their strongest impact when incorporated into daily routines instead of being used in a unit approach. For example, The Kindness Pledge, found in chapter 2, can be recited at the beginning of each day. Because parents are the most powerful force in children’s lives, it is important to encourage their participation in their children’s education. For this reason, I have included chapter 10, “Parent and Child Home Sweet Homework.” Photocopy the exer- cises, and send them home with the children to be completed and returned. At the end of the book are two useful appendixes and lists of recommended resources. The first appendix is filled with reproducible forms to be used with some of the activities. (These forms also can be downloaded from www.redleafpress.org.) The second provides a number of common American Sign Language (ASL) signs that pro- vide visual behavioral cues for children. The lists of recommended resources include children’s books, books for teachers, and websites that enhance the curriculum. A Few Words about Bullying In the years since the first edition of The Kindness Curriculum, bullying has gained prominence as a problem that the educational system must address. This new edi- tion addresses bullying, with this qualification: I think it is unfair to think of pre- schoolers as bullies. At this age, children are experimenting with behaviors and must be guided in appropriate ways to deal with their emotions. Preschool provides a window of opportunity for preventing or reducing the severity of later bullying behavior. Because the brains of young children are develop- ing and their habits are forming in response to social interactions, modeling, and the environment, it is crucial that young children be exposed to loving values, which constitute the building blocks for positive character development. Activities that reinforce positive behavior can serve as preemptive strikes against bullying. It is the responsibility of adults to set clear and simple limits and then observe and work together with children when bullying behavior begins to surface. Successful adult supervision must also include limiting children’s exposure to violent media. The American Psychological Association declares that “viewing mass media violence leads to increases in aggressive attitudes, values, and behavior, particularly in children, and has a long-lasting effect on behavior and personality, including criminal behavior.” So, if the values promoted in this book are to prevail, we must not let them be overwhelmed by the powerful influences of popular culture. 2 Introduction COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL