When Ken Newton, a sixth grade teacher at Fair Oaks Ranch Community School, received a donation of from Kohl’s Golden Valley, he decided to use the items to teach his students life lessons in character development.
Instead of keeping the hundreds of stuffed animals and hardcover books for his own classroom, Newton and his students will donate the items, along with handwritten get-well cards, to children at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital.
“I thought what a cool little life lesson for my students to teach them how to be kind,” Newton said. “I’ve done this for 20 years and I think you really see more and more of a need to take a pause in the hustle and bustle of school and do something like this.”
Newton hopes the partnership between his class, Kohl’s and Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital will teach his students the value of character education and citizen awareness.
“What sometimes gets lost in public education is teaching kids character skills is just as important as the ABCs,” he said. “I’m a really big believer in doing things like this to teach them that compassion, gratitude and being a good citizen are just as important as getting good grades.”
The partnership will culminate at the school on Read Across America Day or Dr. Seuss Day, March 2, when representatives from the hospital pick up the donations and representatives from Kohl’s Golden Valley volunteer in the classroom.
“I wanted to teach literacy and character education, and highlight the nice little donation by the Golden Valley Kohl’s,” Newton said. “It’s a win-win-win for everybody.”
This is not the first time Newton has used the classroom environment to teach his students the importance of being good citizens. Last year, his students collected change and donated $400 to The Gentle Barn.
Newton also allows his students to give monthly reflective speeches in class about how they want to make a positive mark on the world. Past speeches have included the topics of gender equality and clean water, among other world issues.
“That’s a passion of mine… to pause in the hustle and bustle of school to do little character education,” he said. “They’re good kids. You quickly see that they have heart too and it’s your job to bring it out of them.”
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_