We want every classroom to be a caring and kind one. Unfortunately, with the emphasis on literacy and math, encouraging good character isn’t always seen as a priority. We want to re-energize you in your pursuit to help every child develop empathy and consideration for others. We’ve listed some of the best resources for creating a caring classroom environment. If you have more ideas, please share them with us in the comments.

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Hear Barbara Gruener, school counselor of 2009 National School of Character, Westwood-Bales Elementary, talk about how kindness can transform your school.

“Kindness is the Real Global Warming” Keynote

Listen to Mary Gordon, Founder of Roots of Empathy, discuss the importance of empathy and how to help children develop it.

“Empathic Children Today Build Civil Societies Tomorrow” Keynote

Watch the Greater Good Science Center’s video, “Raising Kinder Kids”, featuring Parenting Expert, Christine Carter. She offers great suggestions for encouraging character development by incorporating kindness into your everyday life. 

Lesson Plans

Need a lesson plan or project idea for promoting kindness? The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has you covered. Providing a wealth of resources for grades K-12 be sure to take a look at all they have to offer.

Ready to make Valentine’s Day more meaningful? Scholastic has ideas for teaching kindness on Valentine’s day!

Character.org also has lesson plans that promote kindness from our Schools of Character:

Consider having your students write Kindness Acrostics like at Apollo Beach Elementary

Send letters to learn about Kindness Around the World as Salt Brook Elementary did.

Follow Oakhurst Elementary’s example and make a Kindness Quilt to display your class’s acts of kindness.

Recommended Readings


Lessons from the Classroom: 20 Things Good Teachers Do by Hal Urban

The Heart of Education by Dara Feldman

7 Tips on Raising Caring and Compassionate Children by Michele Borba

What’s Under Your Cape: SUPERHEROES of the Character Kind by Barbara Gruener

Relationships + Rules + Routines = Results by Phillip Vincent and Doug Grove

Eight Habits of the Heart for Educators: Building Strong School Communities Through Timeless Values by Clifton Taulbert


Founded on Caring: A Case Study of Sadler Arts Academy by Becky Sipos

The Classroom as a Caring Community by Hal Urban

Building Strong Relationships: What Successful Schools Do Differently by Rebecca Bauer


Click below to learn even more about building a caring school community in our guide to principle 4!