By Shawn Chitnis

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4) – Teaching kindness to students at an early age is a growing trend among educators including at The Learning Experience.

The center’s philanthropy curriculum let boys and girls design capes on Wednesday for children in the hospital.

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“Can we be humanitarians?” asked preschool teacher Korrie Alexander to her class. “Yes!” her students yelled back.

Her class of 4- and 5-year-old children started the day with a story about helping others in need.

The Learning Experience has various locations across Colorado. Teachers use stories with two dogs as mascots for their courses covering philanthropy. In the story read to this class, “Grace” and “Charity” befriend a little boy who is alone.

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“The little boy was sad,” said 5-year-old Addison Clark. “And why was he sad?” she was asked. “Because no one wanted to play with him,” Clark replied.

Staff at the Center say this curriculum is needed to prevent bullying as their students get older. But it is even more relevant at a time when some feel adults and society as a whole are losing common courtesy among each other.

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“It’s important to teach them about generosity and giving back to their communities,” said Amanda Ault, the director of The Learning Experience in Westminster. “When we teach philanthropy, they have a deeper self image of themselves.”

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To help the lesson from the book connect with the children, staff organized an opportunity for them to decorate small colorful capes that could go to children at the pediatric ward of a local hospital. The hope was to have the capes make the patients feel like superheroes while they are under treatment.

“They’re sick and they’re at the hospital, they had to stay there for a few weeks,” explained 5-year-old Daneil Mader.

Students who talked to CBS4 said “it will make them feel happy.” They discussed the meaning of the activity as a class after they finished.

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“Why did we make capes?” asked Alexander. “Because some people are sick in the hospital and they need to stay there for a few weeks,” one child responded.

The students in her class do not know the patients they will be helping and did not need to learn much about them to understand the impact.

“If someone is sick at the doctor’s they have to stay there, every day, you can bring them something,” said Samara Ryan, 5. “What do we know about the kids that are there?” she was asked. “We know that they are special.”

Shawn Chitnis reports for CBS4 News at 10 on weekends and CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. throughout the week. Email him story ideas at smchitnis@cbs.com and connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.

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