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At rock garden, Leighton students sow and reap kindness

Students begin their day with a visit to the Leighton Elementary Random Acts of Kindness Rock Garden, where hundreds of stones with hand-painted messages of encouragement wait for students to claim. “Who knows where or how far these rocks will travel,” said Leighton Literacy Specialist Amy Armet.  “I just want to feel like I have touched my students’ hearts in some meaningful way and made a happy memory and touchstone of their time at Leighton.”How does the Frederick Leighton Elementary School rock garden grow?
 
With random acts of kindness.
 
Outside the Leighton library, hand-painted rocks adorn a simulated garden scene, complete with white picket fence and wildflowers. The stones were gathered and prepared by Leighton teachers, staff and students and each bears a simple message of encouragement.
 
“Be yourself.” “Be kind.” “Hope.”
 
Each morning, students gather and crowd around to find a particular message that speaks to them, sharing with each other and, hopefully, taking with them throughout the day.
 
The Random Acts of Kindness Rock Garden sprung from a simple, profound idea by Leighton Literacy Specialist Amy Armet.
 
“What I really want is for all of the students to have a little piece of something to call their own.  A reminder that they are special,” Armet said. “A special saying that makes them smile or feel warm inside, or just lets them know that someone in their school cares enough about them that these rocks were created just for them to take home or carry around in their pocket for a day, a week, or for a lifetime.”
 
Leighton Principal Kara Shore said the project was a perfect example of values that Leighton community members try each day to impart to students.
 
“Part of our Leighton Pledge that we say every day is to choose kindness,” said Shore. “It’s a nice way for students to share with each other, get to know each other and have a reminder with them throughout the day about being members of the Leighton family.”
 
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