When the Community Early Learning Center of the Fox Valley (CELC) opened in 2014, it was focused on providing a focal point and a rallying site for early childhood education in the community, serving a high percentage of children and families with low income, special needs and English-as-a-Second Language. There was a strong desire to not only improve early childhood education, but also to pursue research on how to best teach children from diverse backgrounds in a part of the state that has experienced economic hardship.
Within a few years of CELC’s opening, staff learned of the Kindness Curriculum, a tool developed for use in 4K classrooms by researchers at the Center for Healthy Minds at UW-Madison. Studies of the Kindness Curriculum had found that kids who participated had a better attention span, better grades and showed a higher level of social competence than children who did not take part. Sesame Street Workshop had even drawn on the Kindness Curriculum to help shape its spring 2017 season, focused on kindness.