Bucket list: Fill it with positive experiences

Aug 12, 2013

Alana SiggIs your bucket half full or half empty? Thanks to a grant secured by graduate counseling student Alana (Stanbery) Sigg, elementary students in Tiffin City Schools are finding out why it’s better to have a bucket that’s full of positive reinforcement.

As part of her graduate practicum working with Krout Elementary School counselor Suzanne Reinhart, Alana applied for and received a $1,033 grant from the Tiffin Charitable Foundation to purchase materials and resources for the Bucket Filling Program, which is being implemented in K-5 classrooms locally.

The philosophy of the Bucket Filling Program goes like this: Everyone has an invisible bucket within themselves that needs to be filled with positive experiences, such as recognition and praise. Doing so fills others’ buckets as well as our own. Conversely, negative actions toward others dip into their buckets and diminish their positive outlook.

“It’s a concrete concept for elementary students to understand,” said Alana, a ninth-grade science teacher at Madison High School in Mansfield. “The response we’ve seen from kids and adults alike is outstanding.”

The educators’ edition of the No. 1 New York Times best-selling “How Full Is Your Bucket” is designed to create a positive learning environment and specific learning outcomes. The concept, combined with decades of research, shows how even the most brief interactions affect relationships, productivity, health and longevity.

Embraced by teachers at Krout and Noble elementaries, the Bucket Filling Program helps to build esteem and character with a direct incentive for children. “They can easily visualize a bucket and how their actions affect others,” Alana explained. The program also subtly tackles the important issue of bullying.

“The bullying issue is so big … we hope the Bucket Filling Program will teach the fundamentals of treating others with respect,” she said, adding that the desired learning outcomes will come with decreased incidents of bullying within the schools.

“At the conclusion of the project, students will have a deeper understanding of the importance of stopping bullying and a greater appreciation for increasing positive moments in the classroom,” Alana said. “With the guidance of the teachers and their materials, students are given the support they need to be independent makers of change and accepting classmates of all ages, similarities and differences.”

It’s a concept she plans to build off of when she eventually becomes a school counselor herself, following the completion of her graduate program at Heidelberg.