Ideas to Celebrate

Reducing barriers to learning.

   Fostering gratitude in schools

Gratitude can be fostered in school in the following ways:

  • work it into daily conversation - e.g. saying thank you after paired working in class
  • always find the silver lining - a wet play may be a miserable prospect for some, but find ways to identify how it might have worked out for the best in the end e.g. you got that homework completed, enjoyed a game
  • write class thank you cards where appropriate e.g. thanking parent helpers at the end of the year
  • encourage pupils to appreciate the little things - a smile from a class mate, a new spelling learnt, a healthy meal etc.

Thank you letters

In 2016 The Jubilee Centre organised a competition providing an opportunity for children and young people to write a thank you letter to anyone in their lives. The winning entry was from a girl thanking her younger, adopted brother with Down’s Syndrome for being part of their family and all the benefits that has brought to them.

View the project here.

   The power of gratitude

Studies from the University of California show that the simple practice of gratitude can help people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.

Two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, have done much of the research on gratitude. In one study, they asked all participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics.

One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.