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Teaching kindness is an important subject in Mrs. Hultstrand's first grade class

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Posted at 5:30 AM, Jul 28, 2023

GLEN BURNIE, Md. — A day in Karin Hultstrand's first grade class at St. Paul's Lutheran School is like most first grade classes. The kids spend the hours learning the basic subjects like reading, writing and math.

There is another subject that is just as important to Hultstrand, and that is teaching kindness and compassion.

"The children get started in September right away with helping each other. We start very small in the classroom, we start by doing things for each other and they are really good at that," she said.

Then throughout the school year, Hultstrand will find service projects for her students to do outside of the classroom.

"We had heard about Hurricane Ian and we decided to color postcards and write messages of hope to the children at another elementary school in Florida," she said.

The children also made lanterns out of glass jars for residents at the Autumn Lake nursing home, made care packages for local firefighters and packed shoeboxes with goodies and toiletries through Operation Christmas Child.

"I watched their faces as they packed and they were really interested in the toys but they knew they were going to a child somewhere in the world who would need these toys or maybe not have what they have."

And its clear the children know the impact they're making and the value of treating others with kindness. Perhaps the most important lesson is they are learning that their age shouldn't deter them from being the change they want to see.

"They may be six years old and seven years old but they can make a difference and they all know this," Hultstrand said. "You’re never too young to start doing things and helping others."