The MMS Gratitude Project

What are we grateful for as children? Teachers? A school community?

MMS is about to find out!

This week, the classrooms began a discussion to identify what we are thankful for, and how we can express it in a meaningful way. The children’s reflections will be incorporated into an enormous mural that will be displayed in the MMS lobby during December and January.

The project grew out of the school’s emphasis on grace and courtesy this year as a way of creating a supportive and democratic school climate. Young children don’t automatically recognize acts of kindness, or know how to express gratitude. Sometimes adult don’t either!

When you think about gratitude, you have to go deep. You have to think about the “why.” When you say you are grateful for your family, think about why. Because my mom takes me to the zoo. Or my mom reads me a story at night. Or my sister helps me pack my lunch. We want the children to be specific so that they can recognize that something nice is happening and help them to connect it to our values. Parents can help by modeling gratitude — not just giving platitudes but being thoughtful and reflective about the roles of others in our lives.

Research shows that people who recognize the positive aspects of their lives, and are able to express gratitude for them, sleep better, exercise more, experience fewer physical complaints, enjoy more social satisfaction, and are more optimistic. For children, an awareness of gratitude can lead to more success in school, less materialism, greater personal satisfaction,  and a desire to give back to others.

As we head into Thanksgiving and the winter holidays, it’s a great time for us as a school, and as families, to think about the positive aspects of our lives and express our gratitude in a thoughtful and personal way. The more specific you are, the more powerful the message, the more likely the message will be heard!