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By Kyra Gillespie

Pakenham Consolidated School students had a fun-filled day on Friday 8 June.

The school’s Bucket Filler Fun Day involved an amazing race, competitions, superhero creations, and colourful clothing, all in the name of kindness.

The idea behind the program, as school Welfare Officer Kelly Dow explained, is to teach kids about the power of their actions.

“The whole program is based on the knowledge that we all carry around an invisible bucket and when others are kind to us, it fills our bucket up and makes us feel good and when others are mean to us it dips into our bucket and can make us feel sad,” she said.

“The bucket filler program is all about using your words and actions in a positive way, when we do this we are a bucket filler. When we use our words and actions in a negative way, we are a bucket dipper.

“The program also teaches the students to ‘put a lid on their bucket’ when others are being mean by asking them to stop, by walking away or by telling an adult.”

The theme for the bucket filler program this year is ‘Using kindness to make a difference’ and this term the focus has been on self-love.

“We have been encouraging the kids to like who they are, helping them to understand that they don’t have to be the strongest, fastest, prettiest, tallest or skinniest – they just have to be themselves because that’s good enough.”

The concept is drawn from Carol McCloud’s illustrated children’s book, Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

Through simple prose and vivid illustrations, the heart-warming book encourages positive behaviour as children see how rewarding it is to express daily kindness, appreciation and love.

Bucket filling and dipping are used as metaphors for understanding the effects of actions and words on the wellbeing of others.

Pakenham Consolidated School has taken that metaphor and turned it into a tangible teaching method.

“Each student in the younger year levels have a bucket each in their classrooms, and if they are kind to their peers their teacher puts a smiley face in their bucket. At the end of term the child with the most smiley faces gets a small prize.

“For the older years they have a classroom bucket, and the class with the fullest bucket get to be the class champions for the following term.

“By doing this the young community become aware of what they say and do, and can realise that the smallest actions or words can make the biggest difference.”

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