Ingenious as always, Chief Sunrise Education Centre on the K’atlodeeche First Nations Reserve is putting a Slavey spin on the anti-bullying initiative Pink Shirt Day by hosting Sets’ani Day instead.
Sets’ani, which translates to “be a friend” in Slavey, has been a prominent theme in the school ever since the combined pre-Kindergarten-Grade 1 class released a conflict resolution music video with the same title in 2015, with the help of B.C. musician and videographer Rik Leaf.
This year, the school expanded on what being a friend means, and has also been learning about “random acts of kindness” which is an international movement reminding people to be kinder to one another. It also fits well with this year’s Pink Shirt Day theme, “Kindness is one size fits all.”
Kindergarten-Grade 2 teacher Ashley Beck explained that every class in the school studied the same book, Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch, by Eileen Spinelli, which is the story of a lonely man whose life changes for the better because of his and others’ small acts of kindness. Classroom talks and activities based on the book led to students learning the importance of performing kind acts every day – not just when times are tough and their friends need help.
“The students have paid extra attention to recognizing and performing acts of kindness. Any time someone performed an act of kindness, they were given a pink slip to add to our giant love meter – a cupid’s arrow up on the wall in the hall,” Beck explained. “When they fill the love meter, the teachers will perform an act of kindness for them.”
By Sets’ani Day, the students aim to have completed 240 random acts of kindness, or RAK for short. That works out to about one act of kindness per day per student, over a span of two weeks. Staff are busy preparing to celebrate the completion of this goal with even more positive energy, kind acts and fun – including a sliding party.
“It is about being kind to each other,” says Myccaella Jacobs-Sabourin, a Grade 2 student, when asked by Beck to explain what the past two weeks have been about. “I helped people calm down when they were upset.”
Other students in the Kindergarten-Grade 2 class chimed in to add what kind acts they have completed over the past couples of weeks.
“I put the dishes away and I helped my friends sound out words,” said Claudia Fabian.
Fellow classmate Dillon Clarke noted, “I helped my teacher put her boots on.”
“I helped my family. I gave people hugs and kisses,” added Kairyssa Jacobs-Sabourin.
With how popular Pink Shirt Day and random acts of kindness have become, maybe the school should copyright Sets’ani Day before it takes over the world too!