From the Author
– Jayneen Sanders
Book Title: You, Me and Empathy
Illustrator: Sofia Cardoso
For Ages: 3-9
Categories: empathy, compassion, kindness, anti-bullying, friendship
Related learning areas: Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)
Review of book: Click here for a book reading and review
About the book
‘You, Me and Empathy’ uses verse, beautiful illustrations and a little person called Quinn to model the meaning of empathy. Throughout the story, Quinn shows an abundance of understanding, compassion and kindness towards others. Showing empathy towards others is a learned trait and one to nurture and cherish with the children in our care. read more →
In 2015 Pembroke Primary School embarked on a multidisciplinary journey, where students were encouraged to work with peers, teachers and local experts to solve real-world problems. The students discussed issues such as animal welfare, health and homelessness. It was the idea of homelessness that really struck an emotional cord with the students. Their overwhelming gratitude for all that they have, as well as their concern for those sleeping rough lead to in-class discussions, emails and phone calls to organisations primarily based in Melbourne. Despite the students’ keen interest, it was unfortunate that this is where the ‘action’ aspect of their problem solving journey ended because of long distances, lack of connection, age limitations and perceivably unattainable goals. read more →
Some children spend more of their time awake at school than they do in their own homes. That’s a big thing when you’re still growing and learning. It’s a big thing too for parents to entrust their precious ones to others, sometimes strangers, during these vital years. Especially as much of a child’s developing personality and morals can be so easily influenced by those around them.
During the early years of my own children’s education, I worried about the role models they would encounter at school. It concerned me that my hard work instilling good values may be lost if character education wasn’t a priority in the classroom.
Fortunately, these days, educators are more aware of the need to prioritize social and emotional learning at school. They realize the important role that kindness and empathy have in nurturing happiness and self-esteem.
“It’s no secret that kindness sparks kindness. The secret is that kindness takes wings when it is modeled and taught with passion and purpose. When we intentionally help and encourage our students to put kindness into action through their thoughts, words, and deeds, then the world will truly be a gentler, more peaceful place. Simply put, we’ll be better.
Kindness in schools can look like a smile, feel like a hug, sound like a sweet greeting or a sincere compliment. A genuine inquiry about how someone is doing can mean so much. And when we have created that climate of kindness and caring inside our school walls, the natural next step is to take it home to our families, out into our community and then beyond our borders into our global world. And when kindness ripples, prepare to bathe in a tsunami of goodness.”
I remember walking into my bedroom one day after school to discover a brand new pair of aqua coloured jeans on my bed. I was so excited and grateful for those jeans as I had recently admired them in a shop but would never have asked my mum if I could have them. They were the latest trend and I knew we couldn’t afford them, but here they were, on my bed!
I almost knocked my mother over as I ran into her arms. I knew what sort of sacrifice she would have made to get them for me, so these were a very special gift that left a warm, vivid memory.
This is the sort of gratitude I hope my children feel when they are lucky enough to get something they’ve been wishing for. But it’s not just things I want them to appreciate, but their circumstances, their happiness, their friendships and all the ordinary things that surround them every day.
In a world where most children have all they could ever need, it can be difficult to teach them to be grateful. So how do you go about instilling a value that seems almost lost in our world of plenty?
Why Is Gratitude Important
Christine Carter is a sociologist from Greater Good Science Centre and a huge advocate for teaching gratitude. She shares some wisdom on why gratitude is important and how to help parents and teachers foster an attitude of gratitude.
We Are All Teachers
You’ve heard the old saying “it takes a village to raise a child”. When it comes to their education, the same principle should be applied in the form of a positive and proactive partnership between teachers, student and parents.
I’m a huge advocate for clear, open communication between all parties to avoid misunderstandings and unnecessary stress. Good relationships between teachers and parents should be a priority to ensure the best outcome for children.
There are a number of simple things that parents and teachers can do to support one another.
Teachers supporting parents:
Keep parents up to date
Parents who confide in a teacher and don’t receive further feedback on an issue affecting their child can become frustrated and angry. If they’ve made an effort to contact the school, it means they’re genuinely concerned. They need to feel confident their child is being cared for by teachers staying contact and updating them on what’s being done.
Send home a note
Make a special effort to call or send home a note to parents of children who need extra support or are struggling to fit in. A teacher who shares a few kind words about their child’s successes or positive progress will win a parent’s heart in an instant. read more →
My message to kids who bully other kids is:
You know it’s wrong! What’s really going on? Try not to make somebody else’s life miserable because you are.
– Joe Nichols
Let me begin by saying that I detest the ‘Bully,’ label. Bully is a loaded word. It provokes an emotional reaction of some kind to any person that you mention it to. From outrage to fear, everyone has an opinion. Bully Vs Victim, simple right? I disagree.
For me, this is not simple. Varying levels of light and shade must be considered if we are going to be successful in helping to reduce incidents of nastiness in schools. For a child to carry the label of bully is akin to a prison sentence that will haunt them for his or her school career with little chance of parole. To have the bully label surgically thrust upon you implies that it is a fundamental part of the person that you are, it’s who people are therefore expecting you to be. What a burden for a child to carry. To say that a child is displaying bullying behaviour is so much more positive because behaviours can easily be changed and disposed of so it gives everyone involved hope for change.
I am one of these really irritating people who holds the belief that there is good in 99% of the population and often in places that we are not expecting. My mission in life has always been to try and identify with people and find common-ground. I love words and believe that good quality communication, partnered with love and an attempt at understanding, can help to ease any situation. As a parent to four beautiful babies, I have found this to be extremely challenging at times, as I will explain. read more →
Today was extra special because my colleagues and I pulled off a RAK for our school secretary. She is an incredible person and as you can imagine, she does way more than just answer phones and type letters. She IS the most important person in our school, bar none.
The RAK went down like this –
On her desk, she found a GIANT BRAK (Bobcat Random Act of Kindness) CARD. read more →
One year at Christmas my husband and I dropped one of our cars off for service and headed out to shop. Earlier in the week I had contacted the local elementary school to see if there was a child in need. I was told about a little boy who didn’t even have socks to wear with his shoes in the winter. We shopped for our children and spent a little over $150 on the little boy. read more →