A Toolkit for Promoting Empathy in Schools

Instill kindness with a unit all about empathy. Lessons and activities follow a prepare, engage, reflect, and action sequence. Learning experiences include making the classroom a safe environment, peer-invented handshakes, discussions about favorite things, a daily check-in on feelings, practice with conflict mediation, breathing exercises, self-reflection, and more. 

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Invite your school's counselor to be part of a discussion and exercise in your classroom 
  • Add a journal that pupils can write in if they don't wish to share their thoughts and feelings out loud 
  • Draft a letter to parents and guardians detailing the contents of the unit, offer tips to encourage empathy outside of school 
Classroom Considerations

  • Each lesson takes between 30 minutes and one hour
  • Take note of how class members respond, verbally and non-verbally, take necessary action with families and administrators as needed 
  • Lessons are grade-level specific 
Pros

  • Stresses the importance of practicing empathy not just discussing it  
  • Provides a quick easy-to-read one-pager that outlines the unit's components 
  • Activities get pupils up, moving, and talking  
Cons

  • None