Posted on February 01 2017
Understanding and feeling another person’s experiences and emotions is the practice of empathy. It is also defined as an appreciation for another’s point of view. It is important for educators and community leaders to help children understand how another person may be feeling and what they are going through. Putting oneself in another’s shoes can help to develop a child’s sense of awareness as they differentiate their feelings from someone else’s.
A few important things to keep in mind when teaching empathy:
- Most children have a natural affinity towards animals and others, but some do not. Research shows that when a child’s emotional needs are met at home, they are better able to develop a sense of empathy.
- It is important to model and practice empathy in our daily lives as much as possible. Pointing out the injustices toward others or animals that call for empathy is a wonderful way to instill a natural empathetic response.
- Be sure to focus on what your students have in common with one another as well as what they don’t have in common. Instill the understanding that it’s ok to be different and to embrace our differences.
~Excerpt from the Beginner’s Mind Mindfulness Teaching Toolkit teaching manual.
The Beginner's Mind Mindfulness Teaching Toolkit is a mindfulness curriculum for elementary children.