Children across the country are being called on to break out the crayons (or medium of choice) and set their imaginations loose for the Kind Kids Design a Mascot competition.
The competition, run by the Kindness Factory in association with ACM, aims to encourage children aged four to 13 to design a mascot for one (or all) of the 12 attributes of kindness.
The attributes are: collaboration, compassion, empathy, gratitude, honesty, humility, humour, mindfulness, perspective, positivity, self-acceptance and trust.
The Kindness Factory is a not-for-profit organisation that creates educational programs (with education partner Kaplan) for schools to help foster a kinder community.
It was launched in November 2015 by Kath Koschel, a former elite cricketer who fought through ordeals - including breaking her back (twice) and losing the love of her life - and emerged with a renewed passion for life and a complete understanding of how powerful kindness can be.
Through the Kindness Factory, she encouraged people to show kindness to themselves and others in order to reach 1 million acts of kindness. Over 6 million acts of kindness have since been logged.
The competition is part of the Kindness Curriculum, which began in 2020.
"It's a free curriculum with resources for schools to use to teach the attributes of kindness," said Kindness Factory general manager Justine Whipper. "There are resources for each of the 12 attributes with activities separated into five different age categories, with all activities linking back to the Australian curriculum."
So far, 3600 schools across Australia have downloaded the curriculum.
"And it's been downloaded over 50,000 times in general, which we are really proud of," Ms Whipper said.
"What we do know after going into schools is that the attributes are big words, and for younger kids, we wanted to bring them to life using a picture. Sometimes describing a big word like that can be difficult, but a photo or image brings it to life, and you can tell a story about it."
Children can create their mascot at home and upload it or participate as part of a school activity, which the school then uploads.
It's easy to do - take a photo of your entry and upload via the entry page.
One overall winner will be chosen via a panel, and that winner gets a cash prize of $2000 for their school plus a Kindness Pack with yoga mats, five signed copies of Kath Koschel's Kindness book and five Play Kind card packs ($3500 total value). There will also be two runner-up prize packs for schools worth $1800 each.
"We will release the images that have been selected for each attribute, and they will be used in the curriculum moving forward as a part of the education pack," Ms Whipper said.
"It really is an awareness campaign to help young people better understand aspects of kindness while they are designing the mascot with their carer or teacher. We don't want to place any boundaries around what it looks like - we want to leave it to the kids. It's completely up to their interpretation."
The competition is now open and closes Sunday, October 15.
Meanwhile, teachers can access the Kind School Network online. This hub has additional resources and offers deeper support for those looking to embed kindness within their schools.
It features online masterclasses that delve into the attributes and information about the theoretical underpinnings and research behind each.
Generally, the Kind School Network attracts a fee; however, ACM and the Kindness Factory are giving 80 primary schools access to the educational program to support children's well-being in 2023.
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