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Cambridge Public School Students Practice Gratitude with Daily Journaling
Cambridge Public School Students Practice Gratitude with Daily Journaling
Posted on 11/12/2021
Cambridge PS Students

November 12, 2021 (Embrun, ON) – Last spring, Cambridge Public School staff completed a book study together that has since transformed the daily learning experiences of Grades 3-6 students.

And it’s all about gratitude.

The staff reviewed the best-selling book, Kids These Days, by Dr. Jody Carrington, which includes a chapter on gratitude, and it resonated with the Cambridge PS staff. They agreed to pursue the topic of gratitude as a whole school wellness project.

Staff decided that instead of purchasing agendas, they’d use the school budget to purchase gratitude journals for students in Grades 3-6. Staff designed the journals, selected the content and format, and they found a local company to make and print them.

Each page of the gratitude journal has a space to write what students are grateful for, to determine an after-school goal, and to draw a picture. 

The initiative launched on Oct. 1, and Grades 3-6 students take time each day in their classes to reflect and write in their gratitude journals. They can share with their peers and have class discussions around gratitude. The school has also implemented a focused theme each month that ties into the UCDSB character education virtues. October was Caring while November is Empathy.

Since the school implemented the daily journaling exercise for these students, Vice-Principal Gina Landriault says they have documented incredible results.

“Staff have witnessed students being much calmer and thoughtful with the routine of reflecting in their gratitude journals,” says Landriault. “One staff member mentioned that students look forward to gratitude time and is quick to remind her that it is time for gratitude journals.”

Landriault says their staff has completed further research into gratitude studies. Recent research by two leaders in the field of gratitude and education, Dr. Robert Emmons and Dr. Jeffrey Froh, supports the idea that gratitude improves the lives of students and adults. They have found several benefits for students and adults.

“By exercising their ‘gratitude muscle’ with a journal, students can harness positive thinking to increase their grades, goals, and quality of life,” says Landriault. “As students are grappling with the major changes and potential traumatic experiences caused by the pandemic, this practice is even more important to help them channel positive thoughts.”

To engage the whole school, staff also created a 30-Day Gratitude Challenge for the month of October where students are challenged with daily acts of kindness. The daily challenge was part of the morning announcements. Landriault added that students would catch themselves doing the daily act of kindness and congratulate their peers. With Nov. 13 being World Kindness Day, this initiative demonstrates the impact of how one small act of kindness can go a long way.

As for the students’ feedback on the experience, there’s been nothing but positive insight.

“It's important to think of the good things in life and not the bad things,” says Grade 6 student Tank Cadieux.

  

For more information:

Dominique Bertrand, Principal

Cambridge Public School

[email protected]

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