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Compassion: Practical Classroom Activities

by Lily Wong and Roslyn Ann Duffy
May/June 2010
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Article Link: http://www.exchangepress.com/article/compassion-practical-classroom-activities/5019356/

Compassion is a deep feeling of sharing the suffering of another. It is a mixture of words, thoughts, and actions that allow a child to be sympathetic to the needs of others. Compassion brings us together.

Young children today witness many conflicting values. Values promoted in the media and popular culture often glorify disrespect and unkindness, with beauty and possessions emphasized over actions and service to others.

This article identifies behaviors that instill compassion in its many facets. Each activity corresponds to one of the letters spelling out COMPASSION.

C Care: Appreciate and care for our environment.
O Observe: Raise awareness of acts of kindness.
M Manage: Help children manage their responses to others’ needs.
P Pay Attention: Listen to, name, and validate ­children’s feelings.
A Acknowledge: Name and acknowledge kind actions.
S Support: Empower children to demonstrate ­concern for others.
S Show Sympathy: Seek solutions to problems through kind actions.
I Interact: Initiate and practice kind interactions.
O Organize: Find the best words, thoughts, and actions for each situation.
N Nurture: Treat animals with gentleness and care.

Each of these will be illustrated by an activity for teachers or parents to do with children.

General guidelines

Here are sample strategies that can help parents and teachers develop children’s capacity for compassion and help them to become adults who can lead happy, healthy, and ...

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