Nine Hants County schools embrace Kindness Tree program

Ashley Thompson
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Participating schoolchildren "bursting with pride"

Warren MacLeod, the organizer of a local Kindness Tree program, Windsor Forks District School principal Shelley King, and Grade 5 students Hannah Rafuse and Ty Bunin gather around the school’s Kindness Tree. The Grade 5 class at the school designed the ornaments that are placed on the tree by staff members who witness students performing acts of kindness.

Warren MacLeod may single handedly be responsible for Santa’s nice list growing exponentially this Christmas.

The Windsor resident is leading the way in a Kindness Tree program that has students at nine of the 10 schools in West Hants focused on spreading good cheer at this time of year.

The theory behind the trees is simple: the ornaments students place on a Kindness Tree must be decorated with an act of kindness.

“On those ornaments they either pledge to do an act of kindness, or they tell about an act of kindness they’ve done and then they hang it on the tree,” MacLeod explains.

Local businesses donated trees for the Windsor Elementary School, Avon View High School, King’s-Edgehill School, Brooklyn District Elementary School, Falmouth District School, Newport Station District School, Three Mile Plains District School, West Hants Middle School and Windsor Forks District School.

Principal Shelley King told MacLeod the Windsor Forks students are “bursting with pride at being recognized for doing acts of kindness.”

MacLeod, who works for a Toronto-based mining company, plans to visit all of the schools to learn what acts of kindness the students came up with before the trees are packed away after the December break.

“It’s just all about the kids doing good stuff.”

He says he chose to co-ordinate a West Hants-wide Kindness Tree program to encourage others to do their part to make the world a better place.  

“It’s Christmas time… you’ve got to do something good for someone. It’s such an easy thing to do that doesn’t take up a lot of your time,” said MacLeod, who co-ordinates the program with his wife, Kari.

“It’s nothing taxing in any way and it also makes me feel good to see the kids doing these things.”

MacLeod says the Kindness Tree initiative came to be when a Sconestone carved in Windsor embarked on a journey to spread kindness across the world.

In 2009, the Sconestone landed in the hands of students at the Hunter Primary School in East Kilbride, Scotland, and inspired one class to craft a Kindness Tree out of cardboard that would be decorated with acts of kindness etched out on cardboard cutout leaves.

In December 2012, a vice principal in a Scotland-based primary school put her own twist on the idea by asking local businesses to supply the school with a Christmas tree and ornaments for the children to write their kindness pledges on.

Visit www.kindnesstree.com to view a blog following the progress of the Kindness Tree program. 

Organizations: Falmouth District School, King's-Edgehill School, Windsor Elementary School Avon View High School Brooklyn District Elementary School Newport Station District School Three Mile Plains District School West Hants Middle School Windsor Forks District School Hunter Primary School

Geographic location: Windsor Forks, Hants County, Brooklyn District East Kilbride Scotland Windsor Forks District School East Kilbride, Scotland Nova Scotia

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