Serving Preschool Through 8th Grade in the San Francisco East Bay Since 1962

Kindness Rocks at Seven Hills!

Debbie Shipherd, Extended Day Teacher
Last year, the Kindness Rock Project at Seven Hills spread instant joy and gratitude throughout the community.
The project began at Seven Hills last November as an activity during Extended Day Fall Camp. I had seen a post on Facebook regarding The Kindness Rocks Project and after doing some research, decided it would be a perfect fit for our students.

During Extended Day, the children worked hard to paint and decorate river rocks and then hid them all around campus. Finding a rock was a special treat, and the challenge was to either keep it for inspiration, or pass it along to someone who may need some extra encouragement. The students showed a keen interest in expanding the project. When a new delivery of rocks arrived, they volunteered to wash and dry them, shared new ideas for decoration and inspiration, and became very creative with places to hide the rocks.

During Winter Break, a wonderful video production was shared with the school community titled Planting Seeds. Several of our students’ beautiful kindness rocks were featured in the video, which promoted even more awareness of our project. Additionally, Linden took several pictures of rocks hidden all around campus (including one in the chicken coop) and posted a terrific story about our project on Facebook, helping to spread the kindness to a larger community.

The kindness rocks began to infuse various areas of curriculum. Preschool and Kindergarten Extended Day students spent two weeks in January focusing on empathy and kindness, and as an extension, painted, decorated and hid more rocks. One of our 2nd grade teachers, Mrs. Lane, responded to the students’ interest by giving a homework option for her class to decorate and share a kindness rock. In February, our Pre-K class had a “28 days of Kindness” challenge for the month, which included making kindness rocks and hiding them in the Preschool yard for their friends to find.

As a treat for faculty and staff, a tray of kindness rocks was set out in the lounge for anyone to take and share. Mrs. Eaton took some rocks to her oncology clinic to share with cancer patients receiving treatments. After hearing that news, many of our students took more time to write special comforting or inspirational messages for patients. A week later, a friend of Mr. Davis texted him with a picture of a Seven Hills rock he had found while getting treatment. The children got busy making more for another delivery soon after that!

A few of our parents who are doctors at John Muir and Kaiser Hospitals graciously accepted a bag of kindness rocks to take to their offices to give to patients and families who might need an extra dose of TLC. Our P.E. teacher Mrs. Ory took a bag of rocks to share as well. When our rock supply was depleted, determined students went on a campus rock hunt and decorated some gravel and even a piece of pottery.

In May, the children worked very hard to complete 63 lovely rocks to be given as thank you gifts at a Seven Hills donor event, to thank donors for their kindness to the school. They also created rocks for all 50 graduating 8th graders in June. We welcomed many first-time painters who helped to fill the baskets sitting on Mr. E.B.’s and Virginia’s desks. Many visitors have been helping themselves to the rocks, and our parents have shown generous support of the project by donating rocks from Amazon or from their own yard.

The objective of this project was to simply plant the seeds of kindness, one rock at a time. By sharing ideas, writing inspirational messages, and using their imagination, students will continue to plant seeds of kindness throughout the year. Kindness rocks!