Evolving the 'high-five' in everyday life

National High-Five Day takes place this week on Thursday April 21st!

At Wymbin, our purpose is to raise a future generation of confident, empowered, and resilient humans. We love to share 'high five's' in lots of different ways to encourage our students and celebrate their unique contributions to our classroom.

In our Preschool and Kindergarten classes, we start each and every single day with a positive affirmation such as, "I am a great friend: I will show kindness in my classroom today." While verbal cues are one way to create positive encouragement, every person is different! Some students might relate more to a physical cue.

In a world where we are adjusting to social boundaries and respecting everyone's comfort levels, how can we evolve the high-five, and why are they so important in the first place?

The importance of high-fives in everyday life: ​​they create trust which strengthens cooperation.

Did you know?

The importance of the high-five was first acknowledged in sports.

Dr. Dacher Keltner’s research team from the University of California Berkeley recorded the number of high-fives (and similar touches, e.g., fist bumps) that had occurred during each NBA team’s first game of the 2008-2009 season.

The teams were ranked based on who had the most high-fives, and this was then compared to how far each team made it in the playoffs. The researchers learned that the teams with the lowest amount of high-fives were not as successful as the teams with the highest. In fact, the two teams that tied for the most high-fives were the previous year’s NBA champions and the current NBA champions.

The next season, the connection was observed on an individual scale. Steve Nash was the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for the second time and led the league in assists. His secret? He also led the league in high-fives, averaging 239 high-fives per game. That's almost five per minute! Though research on this ‘high-five magic’ tends to be in sports, it does not mean that it is not transferable to other areas of your life.

The high-five thrives on efficient affirmation sharing. These little bits of positive reinforcement are able to show someone that they should keep doing whatever they are doing. If we take a look at an earlier example, Steve Nash high-fived his teammates again and again,