By TRACEY ROXBURGH
It took peer support and turned it on its head.
In the wake of Covid-19, Queenstown Primary School team leader Julie Walker thought it might be beneficial to teach almost 150 of her Year 3 and 4 charges about kindness and empathy.
For the past term the kids have focused their project-based learning (PBL) module on kindness — the end result was unveiled at a special ceremony at the school on Tuesday, where 100 hand-made ‘‘Kindness Boxes’’ were delivered to overwhelmed representatives from Baskets of Blessing.
Each box has been lovingly created by the kids to be given to other children who might be going through a tough time this year.
As part of the project, each child designed a picture to go on the top of the boxes and the top two were selected to adorn the final products under the guidance of ICT teacher Anthony Hill.
Inside each box is an individual ‘‘kindness logo’’, a personalised poem, and-made crafts, games, stationery and other treats the children would like to receive themselves.
The students also learnt about writing formal letters — guests, including Queenstown’s mayor Jim Boult, all received hand-written letters from the kids to invite them to Tuesday’s celebration.
Principal Fiona Cavanagh says 2020’s been tough for everyone and after lockdown the school talked about how they could best support and look after each other.
Through the PBL programme they decided to help instill in the next generation what kindness and empathy means to them, and how they can share it with others.
‘‘So the boxes were born.”
‘‘Along with the artistic component and the treasures inside it, there’s also a personalised poem inside every box,” Cavanagh says.
‘‘There are handmade gifts inside, from stitched toys to finger puppets and pet rocks — things that these students aimed to give to somebody who wasn’t quite as fortunate as them; things they would have liked to have received.
‘‘Queenstown is an amazing community and these [children] are our future and we hope that through this journey of PBL that the gift of kindness and being kind to others is embedded within them.
‘‘We don’t know what each year will look like, but we hope that these students will take this in their hearts.’’
Baskets of Blessing trustee and school admin support staffer Ang Gibson says the charity’s blown away at the thought and generosity behind the boxes.
‘‘For us it’s completely overwhelming, actually, that such a group of young kids have put together these amazing boxes and given them to us to pass on to kids in need in this particularly horrific year for a lot of families.
‘‘This is going to lighten up their lives — it’s just been so heartwarming … to receive them.’’
Gibson says every week the Baskets volleys are continuing to put out ‘‘masses’’ of meals and food parcels and they’re gearing up for their busiest Christmas yet, to ensure ‘‘no one misses out’’.