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Sanford Harmony: teaching students to be kind to each other

Posted at 8:09 AM, Aug 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-24 09:09:41-04

#BeKind can be seen throughout the Millard Public School District, but the district is taking it a step further and teaching kids exactly how to put that message into motion. 

With children so immersed in technology now in days, fostering peer to peer relationships can be tough.  But, Sanford Harmony aims to change that.  Tom Whisinnand, a fourth grade teacher at Reagan Elementary School was the first teacher in the Metro to start using Sanford Harmony two years ago. 

This social emotional teaching program promotes positive peer interactions.  It helps students appreciate both their similarities and differences.  Through different activities, students learn how to communicate and connect.  

Lisa Jorgensen with Bellevue University is helping other area classrooms adopt this free program.  Bellevue University is spearheading the project because they say it is their goal to give youngsters the best possible start. 

"These are skill-building, positive actions they are learning to use everyday and they become ingrained in who they are," said Jorgensen. 

Jorgesen says Sanford Harmony not only builds strong relationships, but it minimizes classrooms disruptions and conflicts. 

"It is really a lot more difficult to be mad at someone when you are friends with them.  It is really valuable to be able to focus on teaching, instead of mediating problems and differences or conflicts when they arise in the classroom. It really helps us focus on what we are here to do, which is educate all kids," said Whisinnand.