These are 2 skills which are so important for children to learn. They are also the most challenging. A friend sent this letter to a grade 3 student, knowing I would appreciate the sentiment and raw emotion behind it.
I cried, then decided to share it with Daisy as she prepares to enter Grade 2. I replaced the names in the letter and printed it out ready to read the day before school starts.
It got me thinking about compassion and empathy, skills I hope I am building in my children, as surely as they are constantly developing in myself. I firmly believe it is our responsibility as educators to help build compassion and empathy in our children and students.
The Fill a Bucket Series is a great way to introduce a class or even school wide initiative to promote kindness and compassion on a daily basis.
Choices of age appropriate books are now available, thanks to the author Carol McCloud, and we even offer a ready made pocket chart for the classroom.
Appreciating what makes us different is also important to building compassion and empathy.
Our Multicultural World Series of books introduce children to the major world religions and cultures and help to build appreciation and respect for other's beliefs and customs.
Addressing some of the issues raised in the letter I talk about in the first paragraph, is The Juice Box Bully.
Bullying and the job of bystanders to act are addressed in this text. As always, using story to introduce the issue gives more children an opportunity to empathize without feeling threatened.
There are so many opportunities to encourage our children and students to develop their compassion. We just need to take them!
How do you help to develop compassion?