9 Ways to Celebrate International Day of Happiness in Your Classroom

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Tuesday 20th March 2018 is the 7th year of celebrating the International Day of Happiness. Founded in 2012, the United Nations created the International Day of Happiness in order to achieve two goals:

  1. To establish a set of principles for addressing the complex, interrelated challenges faced by humankind in the ultimate quest to achieve happiness.
  1. To promote, preserve, and celebrate the principles outlined in UN Resolutions 65/309 and 66/281, especially that happiness is a universal human right and goal.

At IPEN we’ve been celebrating this day every year since we’ve existed and this year we’re excited to share 9 ways for you to celebrate in your classroom.

1. Gratitude morning

When you wake up in the morning, take some time to notice and appreciate all the good things in your life. You could write them down in a notebook or simply take some time to savour in whatever way works for you. On your way to work, take time to notice or appreciate things that you normally take for granted. Be sure to have gratitude in mind throughout your morning and notice how it ripples throughout the day.

2. Mindful moments

Being mindful doesn’t necessarily mean formally sitting and meditating for hours on end. Mindfulness can be experienced moment by moment. Try eating your lunch mindfully and encouraging your students to do the same, really paying attention to each of your senses as you eat. If you feel yourself reacting to a disruptive student, take a moment to stop and breathe and notice how you respond. Play this video about mindfulness to your class which includes a short STOP (Stop, Take a Breath, Observe, Proceed) mindfulness practice.

3. Strengths 360

Becoming aware of our strengths and how to cultivate them is one of the keys to improving our happiness. Giving feedback to others on the strengths we see in them helps them to develop self-efficacy, resilience and confidence and helps to improve our relationships, which is one of the main contributors to our overall happiness. Take some time out of the school day to strength spot your students and encourage them to give feedback to each other in small groups. A simple way of doing this is to ask each student to think of a time when they were at their best and share that story in their groups. The role of other group members is to feedback what strengths they hear or see in the person telling the story. You could do this as a circle time activity with the whole class also. Here’s a great IPEN learning library resource for you to explore strengths 360 further from At My Best.

4. Small acts of kindness

Kindness doesn’t have to cost money. Small acts of kindness can have profound effects. Let another car in front of you on your way to work, give up your seat on the bus or train. Pick up some litter, sweep you neighbour’s path and see how these small acts of kindness affect your happiness. Encourage your students to take part in small acts of kindness throughout the day. You could play this uplifting video to show the ripple effect of kindness.

5. Gratitude letter to parents

Encourage your students to send a gratitude note to a parent or guardian, or an adult in their life who they sometimes take for granted but are really grateful for. Encourage them to be specific about why they are grateful. Here’s a great pre-made downloadable postcard from our friends at Teach Happy.

6. Secret kindness buddy

Print off a list of students in the class, cut each student’s name and randomly hand out a name to each student in the class. They must keep the name that they have been given a secret. Each student’s job is to be extra kind to the person they have been assigned all day, but to do this subtly, perhaps even sneakily, leaving snacks on their desk when they’re not looking. At the end of the day, each student gets to play detective to try to find out who their secret kindness buddy was. Here’s some more ideas from Pobble on how to promote kindness in school.

7. Movie screening

Host a movie screening during assembly at lunchtime or after school. There are some great movie suggestions here and Let It Ripple have made some great shorter films.

8. Happiness pack for kids

Our friends at Action for Happiness and their partners have put together this wonderful Happiness Pack for Kids with great downloadable resources.

9. Expand your learning

Action for Happiness have released a new book on teaching children the skills of happiness and wellbeing, so why not treat yourself to a copy. You can buy it here 50 Ways to Feel Happy

We’ll be posting more activities and challenges on social media throughout the day using the hashtags #internationaldayofhappiness and #happyacts so be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and twitter and help spread happiness across the globe.


Bonus: Buy a ticket with a friend for the World Positive Education Accelerator on March 20th and get 20% each ticket! Register here!



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