Coventry kids have been set some homework with a difference this February half-term, spreading love and kindness in their communities thanks to a new initiative from our Collaborative City Team.
The Passports of Kindness project will see children at Broad Heath and Edgewick Primary Schools issued with sticker books that they’ll be able to complete by performing ten acts of kindness during the break.
Suggested acts of kindness might include things like making a cup of tea for mum or dad, phoning a grandparent for a catch-up, or writing a letter or a poem to give to someone. For each kind act they record in the book, the children taking part will receive a new sticker.
The books have been designed by local artist Matt Hesling-Gibson, with the stickers themselves inspired by different aspects of Coventry and its history, ranging from its cycling heritage to modern venues like the Ricoh Arena.
Reflection pages in the book also offer the children an opportunity to think about each act and how it makes them feel, with the aim of promoting positive mental health and wellbeing during this challenging period.
Developed by Coventry North East producer Navkiran Mann with Arts Education Manager Andy Reeves, this initial pilot will be undertaken by small groups of children still attending schools in-person, with the intention of rolling out the scheme more widely once schools have fully reopened.
You can watch the video below to find out more.
Producer Navkiran Mann said: “Coventry is a wonderfully diverse city, with 120 languages spoken, but kindness is the common language we all speak.
“I wanted to create a project to celebrate the unity in our diversity, and working in Foleshill there is a lot of kindness to celebrate, especially during lockdown where communities have pulled together in wonderful and self-sacrificial ways to love and care for one another.
“Each child will have a personal memento of being involved with City of Culture 2021 and to embody all the values we hold – being caring, collaborative, ambitious and activists. I hope it will inspire and bring joy to the children and I can’t wait to read their poems, see their drawings and all the creative ways they find to be kind.”
To coincide with the project, over the coming week, we’ll be challenging all Coventrians to undertake their own acts of kindness in their communities. Keep an eye on our social media channels over the coming week for some suggestions of how to love your city in a lockdown-safe way.
Ruth Rock, learning mentor at Edgewick Community Primary, said: “We are really excited to be taking part in the Passports of Kindness project, to introduce our children to Coventry City of Culture and to encourage them to use their creativity to promote kindness throughout their community.
“During these unprecedented times, it is more important than ever for us to have a way to help promote the positive wellbeing of our children and to remind everyone how much good can come from being creative, especially with our kindness.”
Mitesh Patel, teacher at Broad Heath Primary, added: “Kindness is one of our school values and I know our children will have many great and creative ideas to make this project come alive. Our children will certainly enjoy celebrating Coventry and how every person can contribute to be an excellent Coventrian!”
The designer of the passports, Matt Helsing-Gibson, said: “I loved designing the Passports of Kindness for this exciting new initiative.
"It has been amazing to use my design skills to help young children become more fluent in acts of kindness. And I’m really believing that each child that takes part would continue to look for small opportunities to love without condition, even after their passports have been filled with stickers."