Lincolnshire kindergarten students turn rocks into acts of kindness

  • Lincolnshire-Prairie View Elementary District 103 kindergarten students Haiwen Tan and Tanya Dong show off the rocks they painted in class at Sprague School.

    Lincolnshire-Prairie View Elementary District 103 kindergarten students Haiwen Tan and Tanya Dong show off the rocks they painted in class at Sprague School. Courtesy of District 103

 
By Abby Scalf
Daily Herald correspondent
Posted1/31/2019 3:54 PM

Kindergarten students at Sprague School are turning rocks into something special.

Each rock has been decorated reflecting something each student loves, from rainbows and hearts to their favorite animals, including raccoons, hedgehogs and snakes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Kindergarten students in Lincolnshire-Prairie View Elementary District 103 painted rocks and distributed them around town in hopes people would find them and drop them elsewhere so the kids could track their travels.
  Kindergarten students in Lincolnshire-Prairie View Elementary District 103 painted rocks and distributed them around town in hopes people would find them and drop them elsewhere so the kids could track their travels. - Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

But these rocks did not come home to mom or dad to sit on a desk or stay in a garden.

Placed outside a neighbor's house, nestled in a community park or even hidden in a store parking lot, these rocks are just waiting to be found to bring that person a smile.

It's an effort by these young students to show a little kindness.

"We are doing this to remind ourselves that everyone can make a difference," said Sprague kindergarten teacher LeeAnn Delli. "We are hoping our rocks will spread kindness as they travel across our neighborhood, state, and maybe even the world."

The idea, Delli said, was sparked by a friend living in Ohio, who found a rock hidden as part of a project called Northeast Ohio Rocks. A rock painting group featuring 6 million painted rocks, the goal is creating smiles and chain reactions of kindness around the world.

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"That social emotional piece in kindergarten is so important, that the students understand that you have power to be kind to other people," she said.

Thinking about what makes them happy, the students drew a picture of that item on their rock.

"I drew flowers because I wanted to spread kindness," one student said.

"I painted a smiley face," another student added.

Sprague School kindergarten teacher LeeAnn Delli tracks a rock hidden by kindergartner Anagha Mandlik, right, on the computer. Kindergarten students painted rocks and distributed them around town in hopes people would find them and drop them elsewhere so the kids could track their travels.
  Sprague School kindergarten teacher LeeAnn Delli tracks a rock hidden by kindergartner Anagha Mandlik, right, on the computer. Kindergarten students painted rocks and distributed them around town in hopes people would find them and drop them elsewhere so the kids could track their travels. - Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

Each student was given the fun task to place their rocks somewhere to be found by a lucky recipient. Delli said the students were told to put the kindness rock in a place that makes them smile, a place where they get excited to visit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I told the kids when I hid my first rock, I hid it at Target because it's one of the places I go all the time and my kids love to go. I hid it outside in the parking lot and someone found it," she said.

People who find the kindness rocks are asked to take a picture of where they found them and post the photo on the Laura B. Sprague School's Kindergarten Rocks Facebook album. So far, the page is filling up with posts, some sharing where the kids have hidden the kindness rocks.

Collette Versino's kindness rock, which features a colorful bouquet of balloons was taken by her dad, Anthony, to be hidden in Tainan, Taiwan.

Sprague School kindergarten student Aiden Obradovich participates in a project at the Lincolnshire school where students painted rocks and distributed them around town in hopes people would find them and drop them elsewhere so the kids could track their travels.
Sprague School kindergarten student Aiden Obradovich participates in a project at the Lincolnshire school where students painted rocks and distributed them around town in hopes people would find them and drop them elsewhere so the kids could track their travels. - Courtesy of District 103

And many are sharing pictures of a kindness rock that has been found. Ayaan Kittur's kindness rock, which features a word that makes everyone smile, "Friend," was found by his friend outside his house.

But the best part is the project doesn't end there. Delli said the students hope whoever finds a kindness rock will hide it again so they can continue to share kindness and smiles.

The Kindergarten Rocks project is only one way the kindergarten students learn about and demonstrate kindness. Throughout the year, they make Kindness Cards for a special occasion, such as birthday or a holiday, to give to others. The kindergarten classes also organize an annual schoolwide pajama drive. This year, 120 pairs of pajamas were given to needy children.

Delli said the importance of showing kindness to others and giving back is demonstrated in every grade at Sprague. For example, the first-graders collect and help package books for Bernie's Book Bank. In second grade, they volunteer their time at Feed My Starving Children.

"It's a thread that runs through the school of giving and kindness," Delli said.

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