This Christmas season Gaelscoil Mhíchíl Uí Choileáin, an Irish grade school, is eliminating all formal homework for the holiday season. Instead, for the month of December, the students will be assigned acts of goodwill that they will record in a special “Gratitude Diary.”
“We are encouraging our pupils to think of the real spirit of Christmas, the spirit of kindness and giving. With such an emphasis on the materialistic and commercial aspect of Christmas, we often tend to overlook what it’s really all about… Goodwill!” says Vice-Principal Íde Ní Mhuirí.
With continuous success, this will be the 3rd consecutive year for the new homework policy. The hope is that this new take on homework will help their students become “kind-hearted, proud, happy and well-rounded citizens and equip them with those life skills that shape their being, long after they have left school.”
Their new homework assignment will follow these guidelines outlined by the school on Facebook:
- MONDAYS. “They are asked to communicate with an elderly person… A relative, a [neighbor] or a friend. This may be something as simple as picking up the phone and calling granny, or popping in to visit an elderly [neighbor] or sending a Christmas card/letter to an elderly person.”
- TUESDAYS. “Help out at home to make parent’s lives easier e.g. fill or empty dishwasher/make their beds/help prepare the dinner/ pair the socks/ walk the dog etc.”
- WEDNESDAYS. “Undertake a random act of kindness…..make somebody’s day through kind gestures/words or acts.”
- THURSDAYS. In the interest of promoting mental health and positive self-image/self-care, the children are asked to do something that they enjoy doing and that makes them feel good about themselves… This might simply be spending some time drawing/reading/listening to music/chatting to a friend…”
- FRIDAYS. “Fridays will have a new addition this year called the ‘Kindness Bucket.’ The children are encouraged to write affirmations and other positive observations about their schoolmates to place into the bucket. These affirmations are then chosen at random to be read aloud for everyone to hear. How jolly!”
The school leadership is extremely thankful for all the support they have received from the parents as they have implemented the changes. All are keen to see the lasting, positive effect these changes will have on the student’s mental health, gratitude and fitness.