Written By: Vidu Mendis and Sunee Steyn
Wells International Bang Na celebrated its first Gratitude Month. The month was divided into three parts: gratitude for myself, my environment, and others (discovering our grateful self, seeing the good around us, and seeing the good in others). It was an exciting week with both teachers and students enjoying the activities. As everyone embraced the power of gratitude throughout the week, our students inquired into “What is gratitude?”. The students tried to find out if gratitude is a feeling or an attitude. In the end, they understood that gratitude is an attitude of finding the good things in our lives. When we focus on the good things, we make ourselves happier.
BEING GRATEFUL FOR OURSELVES
The first week, Wells School Bangna focused on being grateful by discovering ourselves and looking at things that make us thankful. The students wrote gratitude journals to write about their strengths and what they are grateful for. One student in first grade wrote, “I am grateful that I am happy”. Grace (G1) noted that she is grateful that she can brush her teeth by herself. In the early years, the students made paper chains with pictures to show their strengths. Thashvinaa K2B said, “I am a good friend because I always help my friends”.
BEING GRATEFUL FOR THE THINGS AROUND US
In the second week of our Gratitude Month, we learned about seeing the good around us. The students enjoyed looking for the good in the world around them by noticing what was around them. The students went on a scavenger hunt around the school. They explored areas around the school and in the garden for things they are thankful for. For one activity, the students wrote notes of things they were grateful for and tied them to a tree in our garden. They found so many things to be grateful for. The K2 students said they were grateful for the shady garden trees, playing with toys on the playground, and looking at books in the quiet library. Mavind (K3B) said he was thankful for his family and Grace (K3B) said she was grateful that she could celebrate Christmas with her family. Tida (K3B) said she enjoys watching TV with her family and Jacob (G3) said he is thankful for the time spent with his family during meal times. Lise (G1) said, “I am thankful for the library because I like to read”. Aarna, in fourth grade, explained that she was grateful for “the tree in the school courtyard because trees help with oxygen and are houses for the birds”.
BEING GRATEFUL FOR THE PEOPLE IN OUR LIVES
In the third week of Gratitude Month, our students focused on seeing the good in others by finding and naming their friends’ strengths and being thankful for the people in their lives. Prem, Eric, and Timothy (G3) wrote that they were grateful for their homeroom teacher, Mr. Michael. Phop (G1) said he was thankful for his dad because he helped him get better. Jai Jai in fourth grade explained how she was grateful for Ms. Jasie “because she teaches me to dance and I get to improve my talent”. One activity asked the students to think about something that reminds them of a loved one. Annu wrote that it reminds her of her grandmother when she eats bread and milk for breakfast. In the Primary Years, the students decorated boxes and wrote notes to “mail” into their friends’ gratitude boxes. The students were all very excited to open their boxes and read the messages from their friends. In addition to working on gratitude mailboxes, the early year students worked on the ‘have you filled your bucket today’ activity, where they learned about expressing daily kindness and appreciation for others.
At the end of Gratitude Month, the students reflected on what they learned about being grateful. As the K2 students looked through their notes from their buckets, Mustang told his teacher, “My heart feels so happy, it is like I have won the lottery”. Some students explained that they are more aware of how grateful they are for their parents and say thank you more. One student said he had not realized how many of his peers liked him. Ms. Shauna explained that she had noticed how much more empathetic her K1 students have become after this month. The gratitude month brought opportunities for students to reflect on what they are grateful for and greater appreciation for the things and people they have in their lives. We can’t wait to do it again next year!