Thursday, December 9, 2021

Kindness is Power

A casual exploration of what kindness actually is, and how you can easily use it to improve your life and the lives of others.

Let’s start this journey with a little self-talk.

Do you want to be happy?

Yes, right?

Do you want others to be happy?

Probably yes too, right?

Do others want you to be happy?

A little hesitation on that one, huh? Maybe even a no?

Well it’s not true!

Just like you want others to be happy, they want the same for you.

After you read this article, you’ll be motivated to create a small shift to bring more kindness into your life, and the lives of others.

The power of a simple act of kindness is already within you.

Over the last 20 years, researchers have been studying what has been termed “positive psychology,” an analysis of how uplifting emotions like gratitude, love, joy, and inspiration affect our wellbeing and literally improve our lives.

What’s incredible is these emotions are already within us; it’s just a matter of whether or not we take intentional action to express them.

One of the easiest ways to do this is through performing acts of kindness.

So what is kindness anyway?

Kindness simply is a positive action that leaves someone in a better situation than before.

It doesn’t have to be as extravagant as paying for someone’s surgery or spending hours and hours volunteering.

Literally, it can be anything.

A smile. Hold the door open for another. Bring food to someone. Pay for the person in line behind you. Connect with a stranger. Say ‘I love you’ to someone close.

Even treating yourself to a night out, getting a pedicure, or a massage are all acts of kindness.

Yes, that’s right, you can, and should, be kind to yourself too!

So often we hold back from being kind because we don’t know what to do or we don’t think our actions will make an impact, but they do! The research proves this.

What’s important is to just take action no matter how small.

To get you started take a look at some awesome ideas from and the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.

Wow! Kindness is easier than I thought, but what’s the point?

I’m glad you asked, kindness not only benefits others, but it also improves your life as much or more!

The science shows that some of the benefits of kindness are:

• Improved immune system functioning
• Decreased stress levels
• Feelings of meaning and purpose
• A sense of connectedness

Super cool, right?

Check out these awesome cases of kindness in practice.

The Good Cards: The Good Cards is a modern day version of the Pay it Forward movement that uses technology for good. With a mobile app and a physical Good Card, users are able to do good deeds, share their positive stories, and inspire others to join in the action all while being able to track the ripple effect of kindness that happens around the world in a fun and meaningful way.

Social Emotional Learning (SEL): Nowadays in schools, a shift in our standardized education has started to incorporate more curricula that addresses emotional intelligence, mindfulness, and positive psychology. By doing this, we are creating micro-habits of kindness with our youth; empowering them to not only be the leaders of tomorrow, but to be the ‘Kindness Leaders of tomorrow.’

Rotary International: In over 35,000 communities around the world, Rotary has created a space for neighbors to come together and help their communities flourish. Whether it’s raising funds for a local not-for-profit, doing an environmental cleanup, or engaging students in service learning, Rotary is empowering people globally to be a force for good.

Okay, I’m ready to put kindness into ACTION!

You’re all set.

Now you can see how powerful kindness actually is and how simple it is to do.

Once you start, you’ll create a ripple effect that’ll inspire people all around you to spread kindness too.

Remember with The Good Cards you’ll be able to track that impact as you inspires kindness around the world.

Don’t be shy, share with us, what’s one kind act you plan to do today?

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Milk of human kindness: Tokoroa mum who breastfed stranger's baby remembers not getting a feed every day

 A story from the Waikato Times by Sharmae Hope, November 8, 2021

Piripono Brown’s only gripe after offering her breast to a stranger’s hungry baby on the streets of Tokoroa is that the kind gesture did not go unnoticed.

The shy mother of three, originally from Hamilton, has admitted to being the woman who helped out a woman recovering from drug addiction, who was sitting distressed outside Tainui Superette last week.

Susan Johnson was unable to produce her own milk and had run out of money to buy baby formula due to her husband starting a new job and her application for a benefit still being processed.

Brown, who has had her own struggles, told Stuff she did not think twice about “giving the baby the boob” and would do it again.

Piripono Brown breastfed a distressed mother’s baby last week outside Tainui Dairy in Tokoroa. 

She is pictured with her own baby, Pounamu.

“I didn’t think it was that big of a deal,” Brown told Stuff while cradling her own 3-month-old baby.

“Baby was hungry right then and I had milk that would have gone to waste. I just wanted to feed her straight away instead of running off to get formula. It is all natural anyway.”

Growing up in a rough area of Fairfield, Brown can empathise with Johnson’s situation.

While substance addiction was not rife in her household, her mum became an alcoholic after her husband died.

She often remembers wondering when her family might get their next feed.

                            “Baby was hungry right then and I had milk that would have gone to waste,” said Piripono Brown, who has three children.

“My mum tried really hard to provide for us but it was expensive to feed eight kids.'’

Her mum often had to reach out to foodbanks or generous community members to keep the cupboards stocked, she said.

“I don’t remember having a bad upbringing but we didn’t get a feed every day.” 

Now, at 24 years old, she is really appreciative of what she has and is always willing to help others in need.

“My kids are happy and healthy and have a home, whereas there are others who don't have those things.

“I am definitely not rich but I am just fortunate enough to be able to help.”

The free feed and gifting of $200 worth of groceries to Johnson is not where Brown’s generosity ends either.

                                                             Piripono Brown has been keeping other families’ bellies full as well. 

Over the past month, Brown has bought groceries for more than 50 families in Tokoroa.

She set up a Facebook page called Tokoroa Free Kai and has been supplying weekly groceries to those in need.

As well as working part-time at First Security, she is studying He Papa Tikanga (Māori worldviews) online and completing a course in health and wellbeing.

She hopes to have a career in health one day.

“I don’t want anything in return. I just like to help and it makes me happy seeing others happy.”

                                                                 Piripono Brown’s son, Pounamu Brown, is 3 months old.

Here is a link to a short interview wih Piripono Brown and the full article.


Saturday, May 16, 2020




We have continued to open the Centre every day and offered a reduced service to families following government guidance.  Staff have worked on a rota basis and if not in work have worked from home.    Staff have worked tirelessly to support children and families in the best way possible.

What have we done differently?:

•          Setting up the Pen Green Pantry and Kingswood Kitchen to support families who are struggling financially, this allows us to receive food donations and enables staff to distribute food parcels to families in need.

•          Taking food parcels to families homes.

•          Dropping off resource packs, games and books to children’s homes for families to do together.

•          Keeping in contact with children and families through Skype calling and facetime.  For some families (dad’s) this has improved communication.

•          Some parents have asked for a daily phone call, staff are offering emotional support as well as practical ideas for families to do during lockdown.

•          Our on-line platform for sharing children’s learning has been used more frequently by families, sharing video, photographs, observations, learning stories.

•          Staff regularly post ideas and challenges on tapestry (online journal) for families to engage in.

•          We have offered virtual groups for children with special educational needs, this has been supported by centre staff and a music therapist.

•          We have set up regular virtual check-ins for staff to allow them to keep connected with one another.

•          This has been a very challenging time for everyone and we have had to try to find different ways of working that keeps everyone safe.

•          We have continued to offer staff monthly supervision sessions (1:1) with their supervisor this has been done virtually.

•          We have used social media including Facebook and our website to post ideas, staff telling stories, children’s yoga, baking sessions etc. for families to do with their young children at home.

•          We have posted lots of information about safeguarding online to remind parents how to keep their children safe including information about online safety.

•          Our government have continued to pay the Early Years funding for our 2, 3 and 4 year olds, however a real challenge has been the additional income that we generate through selling hours to families.  The lockdown has meant a loss of £19k per month during this time.

Angela Prodger & Tracy Gallagher
Joint Heads of Centre

Our vision is to inspire, challenge and innovate to improve outcomes for all children but specifically the most vulnerable children and their families.
We provide training courses, leadership and research opportunities and bespoke school to school support in all aspects of early years work.

The Pen Green Centre was set up as part of a substantive under-fives initiative and is housed in a 1930s former comprehensive school. At the Centre we offer high quality education and care for children and their families. We also offer information and support services for parents through home visiting, group work, health interventions, adult education and training as well as the professional development, training and dissemination of good practice though the Research, Development and Training Base, and the Teaching School. The principle functions of the Centre have remained constant over the last 37 years although we have significantly developed the accommodation. We have maintained our principles of operation; withstood radical changes in local and national government; responded creatively to new legislation and to major demographic changes, and influenced national government policy in early years.

“In every small community there should be a service for children and their families. This service should honour the needs of young children and celebrate their existence.  It should also support families, however they are constituted within the community”

Friday, May 15, 2020



"There are aways many times when we reflect on our philosophy and pedagogy and right now is one of those times.  This global pandemic has seen many of our children staying at home; many of our families working from home; many families becoming unemployed and some of our children continuing to play and learn at preschool each day.  
 This has been a provocation for me and my Educational Team to reflect on kindness, gratitude, connection, and staying true to our philosophy.  We have opened our hearts even more to our children and families to support them during this very challenging time.  And as we have found more ways to celebrate gratitude, we too have found more joy in teaching and sharing our lives with our children and families.  
 One of our acts of kindness was inspired by how the pandemic was impacting and restricting our children's and families' freedom to enjoy their neighbourhood.  In NSW, Australia, public playgrounds are closed and families are only allowed to move around their neighborhood to exercise. I became very aware that during the 2 weeks school holidays our gorgeous nature-filled outdoor learning environment would be empty of children.  So with careful planning, I invited 2 families a day to play and exercise in our playground.  This supported their connection to the preschool and provided our children and their families to have a morning or afternoon outside their homes, knowing they were safe and not breaking any rules. Our families have told us that this very simple act of kindness meant so much to them.

Although now my days are filled with more policy writing and implementing new procedures to ensure the safety of my team, children and their families, I am so privileged to be able to continue to teach each day.   This brings me great joy, especially during this time.  

Loris Malaguzzi's words are always in my heart - "Nothing without joy". 

Catherine Lee
Director/Nominated Supervisor and Early Childhood Teacher  
The Point Preschool
Oyster Bay, Sydney

Our vision is to continue the dream of the Oyster Bay parents who originally built the preschool to create a preschool that nurtures and values children and brings families and communities together. Proudly providing high quality, not-for-profit, community-based early childhood education since 1956.

We acknowledge the original custodians of this land, the Dharawal people and their language and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the community.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

What does gratitude look like?

This morning when I got up and read my local paper I was overwhelmed by the beauty of one woman's story in our paper. This story was written in our paper by a Stuff Report Libby Wilson and was entitled "Coronavirus: Cancer treatment in Hamilton during Covid-19 lockdown like a 'holiday''. It was certainly a title that caught my attention.

I am sure this would not feel like a holiday to me. But this is the feeling of Metua Tangaro-Daniel-Malietoa who was to begin her radiation treatment during lockdown. She says this: 
"For me, as a grandmother of eight, and four adult children ... It's the first time I have actually just not cooked, or done any kind of housework. It's like, oh, wow, thank you Lord. It's a blessing," the Tokoroa woman said.

 Metua has four adult children and eight grandchildren, so it's a change to have no cooking or housework to do while she stays in the Cancer Society's Lions Lodge in Hamilton. She was full of praise for the place she was staying in, the people around her and the meals.

Each day she writes daily thank you notes on the back of her menu! As Libby Wilson writes the former social worker says she has never eaten or slept so much, but has fitted in some work for community organisations, and daily video calls with mokos. I want to wish Metua all the best for her life ahead. I have no doubt that it is filled with joy...  as Ivan Panin wrote:

For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it. For every truth there is an ear somewhere to hear it. For every love there is a heart somewhere to recieve it. 

Thank you Metua for bringing joy into my life today. Arohanui Wendy