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Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

  • 1.  Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

    Posted 23 days ago
    Hello All,

    I am a first year PreK teacher.  I am hoping some of you with more experience will be willing to provide me with some suggestions and guidance on how to best approach teaching caring and compassion with my PreK class (4-5 year olds).

    The past two weeks I have done a lot of discussions with them about Martin Luther King Jr.  We have talked repeatedly about how he believed we all needed to love each other and treat each other with kindness.  My students really seemed to understand that, and are able to talk with me about how it is better to be kind and loving to people, even if their are not kind to you, then to hate them back.  They understand about treating each other with love and that "Hate cannot drive out hate.  Only love can do that."  They are able to say it is not okay to use your bodies to hurt others, break things, or to yell/say mean things when you disagree with someone.  They know they should use their words.  They are still developing an understanding that it is okay to disagree with other people- many still think that is not okay...but I am continuing to reinforce that it is okay, you just need to do it in a respectful way.
    A situation arose at the end of the week that has made me realize that while they know we should be kind and loving to each other- I do not think many of them actually know what that means behavior wise.  My co-teacher lost her grandfather last week.   Students were asking about what happened.  One students made a very unkind comment to her, and other students began laughing at it.  My co-teacher began to cry, as she was still upset about his passing, and what was said was hurtful.  I had a stern talk to my students, again bringing up being kind and loving to each other.  As I was talking I began to realize that the students involved really, I do not think,  know why what was said and the laughing was unkind.
    Tomorrow starts a new theme for us, and our new Happy Hearts Life Skills theme is caring and compassion.  I think this is perfect timing.  They have the foundation of knowledge to be kind and loving, now it is time for them to learn how that is done.  In my reflection of the situation, I further remembered that at this age they are just learning to understand their emotions and the emotions of others.  They are also learning that their behaviors have consequences (both good and bad).  They have recently left their more ego-centric, everything is about me, stage of life.

    I would so appreciate suggestions and advice on how you have approached teaching caring and compassion with young children.  I know much of it comes from what they observe from adults, but if I'm thinking right, it also needs to be taught.  Can any of you help steer me in the best direction?  Thank You So Much!!

    ------------------------------
    Heidi Van Amburg
    PreK Teacher
    Crystal MN
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

    Posted 23 days ago
    Wow, I am impressed with your teaching style. Keep doing what you are doing. It takes time. We use the term; you are hurting someone's heart.
    I also tell them my favorite words are Peace and love. You are truly a gifted teacher!

    Peace and love!

    ------------------------------
    Patrice Carlisle
    Director
    Ms
    Sugarloaf CA
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

    Posted 23 days ago

    @Heidi Van Amburg,

    I think it is great that you are teaching kindness and what it means show care and compassion for others.  Know that with young children, it is the consistency over time that makes your efforts lifelong lessons.  Here are a few resources I have used in my classrooms to build a sense of caring among my classroom community:

    The Kindness Curriculum: Introducing Young Children to Loving Values.

    ​​This is a great teaching resource full of activities that you can include in your daily interactions and weekly lesson plans.  I love it and encourage my teachers to use it with their children.

    The Great Kindness Challenge is this week (Jan. 28th - Feb. 2nd) --please google for more info.  Children are encouraged to do random acts of kindness throughout the week.  I usually combine this with the book, Have You Filled a Bucket Today and How Full is Your Bucket?. These books provide a great concrete way to conceptualize what happens to people's feelings when someone does something "not nice" and when someone does something "kind".  I use these terms with children my classes to help them understand how what they did impacted others, "You dripped from her bucket.  What can you do to fill it back up?"

    There's another book that I loved to read as well, Cookies:  Bite-Size Life Lessons.  I would usually do one word from the book and discuss what it means encourage the children to find others displaying that word throughout the day.  If I spotted one of the children displaying the word, I would say, "That's cooperation", so that they could connect what was discussed with their everyday actions.

    Hope this helps!

    ~Tiffany

    ------------------------------
    Tiffany Smith
    Founder/Owner
    Teaching Foundations, LLC
    Columbia MD
    Tiffanyjsmith@teachingfoundationsllc.com
    Https://www.teachingfoundationsllc.com
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

    Posted 22 days ago

    Heidi,

    I hear your struggle with this age group about understanding compassion. We teach a curriculum called

    Second Step which uses puppets, role play, etc. to teach about emotions and how to handle them. I LOVE when I see them using the skills on their own later on. One tip I have is how us teachers use modeling to show how to treat one another. We all know that children learn from modeling. Sometimes we create a scenario and sometimes we use what is already happening. For example, if a child is having a meltdown and hits another teacher, I will say "Please do not hurt my friend. You are making her sad". I go over to her and say "are you okay?" and sometimes hug her. This also shows you can stand up for your friends. If a teacher says "that makes me sad", I will give her a hug and show sympathy. We use parallel and self talk then as well. I will say what I am doing. "I am going to go make Miss April better".  If a teacher, or child says "I can't do this", One of us will say "I have confidence in you. Keep trying" or " I will help you". By the end of the year, many children will see another hurt and go over to hug them or we will see they will bring the child a toy. It is so heartwarming and gratifying to see that what we do as educators work (AND matter)! I don't know if this helps but it is just one way we teach about being aware of other's feelings.

    Theresa Wood






  • 5.  RE: Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

    Posted 22 days ago
    Second Step is a terrific kit too. I used to use it in my classrooms as well. It is worth the investment. I'm so glad Theresa recommended it to you. I have also used Becky Bailey's theory of Conscious Discipline and Dr. Marshal Rosenberg's Non-Violent Communication Model. They are all good, but my first pick is the Second Step kit. (:

    ------------------------------
    Regina Puckett
    Mentor and Trainer
    Origin's Learning Community
    reginaespuckett@gmail.com
    281-703-2539
    Houston, TX
    "From the beginning, from the heart."
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

    Posted 22 days ago
    Hello Heidi,

    I was also very passionate, as a classroom teacher, about promoting social-emotional skills with young children such as peace, compassion, and kindness. I now train teachers on this and I am working on switching my training company to a a non-profit start up that supports classroom teachers in this area of development.

    You are right, social-emotional skills such as these need to be a part of our classroom's daily curriculum, along with all of the other subjects we teach children. You are also right that the children did not realize what they were saying or doing was wrong when they laughed at the one child's joke. The child who told the joke might have even been trying to cheer the teacher up, not understanding how to use humor. They are still understanding concepts such as death and dying differently than we do. I have had children in my classroom who had lost parents due to an illness or drug overdose. One terrific book for talking to preschool children about death and dying is...

    Lifetimes: The beautiful way to explain death to children by Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen

    It is such a beautiful book. I highly recommend adding it to your collection. You can buy it on Amazon.

    Young children learn about concepts such as peace, compassion, and kindness, best through concrete, hands-on experiences. I have power points with some great suggestions. I tried attaching them as PDF preview for you to view, and it did not work for me.. If you want me to send them to you, please feel free to reach out to me. I will leave my information below. Also, there are several books that give wonderful hands-on activities for promoting kindness, compassion, peace, and conflict resolution skills. Here are a few for you to start exploring. They all involve activities, crafts and games for teachers and young children to participate in together.

    Bailey, B. (2009). I Love You Rituals. New York: Harper Collins.

    Levin, D. E. (2003). Teaching Young Children in Violent Times: Building a Peaceable Classroom (second edition). Washington D.C.: National Association for the Education of Young Children.

    Rice, J. (2013). The Kindness Curriculum : Stop Bullying Before It Starts (2nd ed.). St. Paul, Minnesota: Redleaf Press.

    Smith, C. A. (1993). The Peaceful Classroom: 162 Easy Activities to Teach Preschoolers Compassion and Cooperation. Mt. Rainier: Gryphon House, Inc.

    If you would like more resources, please feel free to reach out to me. It makes me feel so good to know that there are teachers like you in the world, supporting children's social-emotional skills. The children are so lucky to have you.

    With Friendship,
    Regina Puckett




    ------------------------------
    Regina Puckett
    Mentor and Trainer
    Origin's Learning Community
    reginaespuckett@gmail.com
    281-703-2539
    Houston, TX
    "From the beginning, from the heart."
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

    Posted 22 days ago
    There's a wealth of resources about teaching young children kindness and compassion for members of the Young Chidlren's Spirituality Interest Forum (free for all NAEYC members), at https://hello.naeyc.org/viewdocument/annotated-resources-and-links-on-yo?CommunityKey=87f47142-bb5f-4964-93c4-6d5e1d432950&tab=librarydocuments.  Most of the research shows that kindness comes naturally to young children, especially when they're securely attached.  They pick it up more from adult example and having incidents of kiindness noticed out loud by their teachers, than by anything we say to them.

    ------------------------------
    John Surr
    Young Children's Spirituality Interest Forum
    Charlottesville VA
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

    Posted 22 days ago
    Hello Heidi,

    As a Coach for Early Childhood Teachers, it just so happens that I was reviewing resources to use at a Head Start this week and came across one that I think would be very helpful to you as well.  It sounds like you are already building a strong framework of caring and empathy in your classroom.
    I have built up a library of resources that most directly address the concerns of the Teachers and Directors I have worked with over the years.  
    What to Say to Little Kids Instead of "Say Sorry" by Michelle Woo - 10/10/17 is one of those.  She also has a book entitled It's OK Not to Share and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids.
    She provides an example in the very short article of what she observed when touring a preschool for her daughter.  When a 3 year old boy accidentally stepped on a little girls fingers, as she was crying, he stepped up, looked her in the eyes and said "Are you okay? Can I get you a wet towel?
    As anyone might be, she was stunned by the child's response.  The girl, seeing that her feelings were acknowledged was able to resume playing with her classmate.
    I would imagine that the Teacher had many discussions with her class that  guided them in analyzing their own feelings when someone hurt them.  The next step would be questions of what would make them feel better in the situation.  They can then be guided into understanding that others have these same emotions and needs.  4 and 5 year old children are ready for this concept and eager to practice their new understanding and skills.  I hope this information is helpful.
    --
    Jacqueline Pyles M.Ed
    Early Childhood Coach and Instructor
     





  • 9.  RE: Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

    Posted 21 days ago
    Hi Jacqueline,
    I am a behavior coach at my preschool. I wanted to make contact with you to see as this is a new position for me if you would be able to maybe talk via email.  I was wondering about how you came to that position, and what your role is and job responsibilities are.  Thanks so much. Please in mailbox me.

    Thanks so much.


    ------------------------------
    Stephanie DeScalzo
    Behavior Coach
    Winter Park Day Nursery
    Winter Park FL
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

    Posted 22 days ago
    ​Hello Heidi, my name is Deb Schein and I am a facilitator for the Young Children's Spirituality Interest Forum (YCSIF).  In our group we attempt to look at universal qualities that spark our human spirit.  Caring and compassion are two important qualities along with wonder, awe, joy, etc.  As I read your post I felt your care and compassion for your co-worker.  What I found absent was a deeper understanding of young children's spiritual development - something that I once thought was missing In ECE (but this is another story for another time).  Please so not get defensive yet....hear me out. The research I completed for my doctoral work uncovered a connection between love, relationships, developing a strong sense of self and spending moments in wonder, awe, joy, and reverence that touch one in a personal way.  From this emerges empathy which in my opinion is even greater than compassion.  It puts an individual in position to be of help to others.  I also discovered that these qualities are NOT teachable.  You can model them, as you seem to be doing but teaching by talking to  young children results most often in rote learning.  Young children need opportunity to explore, experience, experiment in order to find their own place in the world.  This process strengthens their sense of self. I would be curious to learn what the child said; why it was said; and what made the children laugh. This entire experience could have been a lovely provocation for some deeper dialogue and learning coming from the children rather than the educator.  Having a theme a week or a month does not support this type of emerging flow of learning. I also wonder if you helped the children to do something active to show empathy for your co-worker.  I am guessing that I do not need to remind you that death is probably something that most children have not yet experienced.  This means the learning needs to focus on cultural "to do things"....make a card, read the children a book about loss...you get my drift.  Talking about deep things with children who do not know what you are actually talking about can only lead to misperceptions.  I am not saying that deep discussion cannot be had with children.  They can but the deep topic should come from their own experiences.  What was missing most for me in your description was the absence of play in learning about what happened to your co-worker.  You might be interested in checking out my book

    Schein.Deborah (2017.  Inspiriting wonder, awe, and empathy:  Spiritual development for young children.  St. Paul, MN: Redleaf Press.

    Hope this helps.  You are moving in an important direction.
    Deb

    ------------------------------
    Deborah Schein
    instructor and consultant
    Minneapolis MN
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

    Posted 22 days ago
    ​Here are a list of picture books that we use to gently introduce the concept of kindness and empathy.
    Be Who You Are Parr
    Lovely Hong
    Three Little Words Pearce
    Hooray for Hat Won
    How Kind
    One Smile McKinely
    I am Human; A book of Empathy Verde
    Little Worlds Collet
    Hodge the Hedgehog Sparkes
    All Are Welcome Penfold
    Twig Parker
    Strictly No Elephants Mantchev
    Pass it On Henn
    Try a Little Kindness Cole
    Words to Love By Warren
    Be Kind Zietlow Miller
    Big Umbrella Bates
    Imagine Amnesty Int


    Hope this helps!



    ------------------------------
    Christina Roseli M.Ed
    ECLS - El Dorado County Library
    Placerville CA
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

    Posted 22 days ago
    ​Lovely list.  Thank you Christina

    ------------------------------
    Deborah Schein
    instructor and consultant
    Minneapolis MN
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

    Posted 22 days ago

    Heidi:
    It's so great that you want to teach this to the kids in your class and it can create an important foundation about how to be in community, which is the essential work of the classroom.  As you're discovering, it takes time, and needs to be developmentally appropriate.  I would advocate for some 'study' of emotions in general, not simply kindness.  It's hard to figure out how to be kind when you're upset, angry, or scared.  Or a study of friendship, because friendship is complicated at any age and not always just about sweetness and light.  Am I still your friend if I don't feel like playing with you in this moment? Are you still my friend when you're angry with me?  If I want to play with A it must mean that I'm not B's friend any more.  There are lots of great books about kids working out conflicts with each other.

    Emotions, including those that lead to compassion and caring, are complex. I think that even very young children know this. Remember that King was also very angry towards injustice and those that created it.  He was fiery.  Perhaps broadening the scope of the conversation would deepen the learning.  Hope I'm being clear.  



    ------------------------------
    Aren Stone
    Child Development Specialist
    The Early Years Project
    Cambridge, MA
    she/her
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

    Posted 22 days ago

    Greetings Heidi Van Amburg,

    Thanks for starting this conversation.  Children understand death differently than adults, so their reaction to someone passing is going to be different than that of an adult.

    It does not mean that children do not care, but most children have a minimal understanding of the permanency of death.

    Here's  a great thread from the community on the topic of death and young children with lots of info:

    https://hello.naeyc.org/communities/community-home/digestviewer/viewthread?GroupId=169&MessageKey=0e49494d-d841-49e8-b9e8-976375628675&CommunityKey=f51f9fd4-47c9-4bfd-aca7-23e9f31b601e&tab=digestviewer


    Here is a thoughtful post on our NAEYC blog on the topic of death and young children:

    https://www.naeyc.org/resources/blog/death-in-the-family-helping-children-understand


    Most sincerely,



    ------------------------------
    Lark Sontag
    Community Engagement Manager
    National Association for the Education of Young Children
    Washington DC
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

    Posted 22 days ago
    I really want to thank all you who took the time to provide your thoughts, ideas, suggestions, and wonderful resources.  I am very eager to check into all the resources you provided.
    I had a short, little talk with all my students today.  I told them that I realized after I talked to them on Friday, that we were just getting ready to start learning about Caring and Compassion.  I said that I realized that while you all know that it is important to be kind and loving, we never really discussed how you do that.  I also told them that I realized that they did not realize that their laughing was making our other teacher feel sad.  I said I know they really care about her.  I then got them excited about the fact that we are now going to start learning about how to show other people we care about them.  Students were very excited.
    I am also going to do a caring project with them tomorrow (on my co-teachers day off).  We are going to make a class card for our other teacher saying how much we care about her.  I think it will be a good way of putting some closure on what happened.
    I am going to really look into all the great resources you provided me.  I was surprised by how many responses I received, and am so grateful for all of you that took the time to help me out.
    Thank you so much!
    Heidi

    ------------------------------
    Heidi Van Amburg
    PreK Teacher
    Primrose School of St. Louis Park West
    Crystal MN
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

    Posted 20 days ago
    Heidi:
    Thank you for sparking such a rich discussion with so many useful ideas.  Your follow-up with the children sounds wonderful and respectful of both the children and your co-teacher. I, and probably others, would love to hear how the kids respond during your follow-up project.  I wonder what language they might use when they write their note.  Will they incorporate some of the language you used in your discussion?  It will be interesting to see. You're providing a way for the children to close a circle with the other teacher and within themselves.  That's compassion in action.

    ------------------------------
    Aren Stone
    Child Development Specialist
    The Early Years Project
    Cambridge, MA
    she/her
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

    Posted 22 days ago
    Good morning,

    What a great theme as it seems like that is what your littles are eager to learn next. I currently teach outreach for early ed, teaching oral health, hygiene as well as mental/behavioral health. We've learned through multiple visits through schools, that often in our littlest learners we are quick to teach the repercussions of an action and behavior. We need to take a few steps back and teach the child about themselves before we can teach them about love for another. Try doing some body awareness activities such as warm versus cold, listening to their own breathing, feeling their calm heart beat versus a running around heart beat. Once they've gotten a grasp on those sensations have them try to link what sensations their bodies feel when they have an emotion. Are their faces hot? Are their fists clenched? Do they feel droopy? With a focus on themselves, they can learn to identify what they are feeling and why. They can accept it and begin to build a process with what to do with it. Just like we don't expect them to know the abc's with us teaching them, they need to learn what big feelings feel like and how to love themselves anyways.

    ------------------------------
    Heather Ha
    Education Coordinator
    CHI St. Joseph Children's Health
    Lancaster PA
    ------------------------------



  • 18.  RE: Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

    Posted 21 days ago
    Hello!
    The best and must appropriate way to teach these qualities to your children is to model them daily. For example, in the case with your co-worker I would have apologized to her in front of the kids and specifically stated that I'm really sorry that __________ made you sad and maybe offered a hug. Compassion and kindness are qualities most adults are working on so little ones can't and won't be masters at it. Keep it on your radar and be the master model. Also, include the families. Families are the life long teachers, our roles are momentarily. I'm not knowledgeable about the various curriculum but make sure you select a curriculum that has an EXTENSIVE parent/family component! keep working today  for a better tomorrow!

    ------------------------------
    Shawntay King
    Romeoville IL
    ------------------------------



  • 19.  RE: Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

    Posted 21 days ago
    Hi Everyone,

    I agree that modeling is the most powerful way to teach kindness and compassion to children. I also feel, based on research and my own personal experience as a teacher, social-emotional skills activities should be an integral part of the classroom curriculum. I would like to see more teachers use circle time as a time for social games and bonding as a classroom family than as a time to drill children on academic skills. As a Professional Development Specialist for the CDA Council, the number 1 goal of all the teachers I meet is to learn to support the children in the social-emotional domain. The more resources the better.

    I say, continue ongoing curriculum with the children on peace, kindness and compassion while practicing strong modeling skills. The two go hand-in-hand, in my professional opinion. Explore all of the beautiful resources people in this post have offered and more! Through these resources, you will not only learn about social skills activities to do with the children, but you will also learn about the importance of modeling social behavior for young children. I am so glad so many people have shown an interest in this post!

    ------------------------------
    Regina Puckett
    Mentor and Trainer
    Origin's Learning Community
    Houston, TX
    281-703-2539
    reginaespuckett@gmail.com
    "From the beginning, from the heart."
    ------------------------------



  • 20.  RE: Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

    Posted 20 days ago
    During morning meeting, the children recite "The Kindness Pledge" and wish each other well for the day.  The words to the pledge are: I pledge to myself on this day, to try to be kind in everyway, to every person, big or small, I will help them if they fall. When I love myself and others too, that's the best I can do.  Explain the meaning of pledge and role play acts of kindness for a few weeks.

    ------------------------------
    Tammie Taylor
    Raleigh NC
    ------------------------------



  • 21.  RE: Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

    Posted 20 days ago
    Hello Tammie,

    This is truly a great way to start each day, what a wonderful teaching tool to inspire young learners.  We can all recite the " Kindness Pledge" a little kindness goes a long way.


    Jacquline Hatcher
    South, FL

    ------------------------------
    Jacquline Hatcher
    Miramar FL
    ------------------------------



  • 22.  RE: Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

    Posted 18 days ago
    Hi Tammie,    I really like -  the Kindness Pledge -  did you write it?  If not who did , how did you find it?
                          Can I put it on Facebook to my nanny group?    Thank you.


    ------------------------------
    Marianne Dougherty, CPN
    NANNY
    Wilmington DE
    ------------------------------



  • 23.  RE: Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

    Posted 19 days ago
    Hi all,
    I again want to Thank You for all your wonderful suggestions, feedback, resources, and ideas.  They have all been so helpful to me.  I wanted to give you a little update.  I said earlier that I had planned to do an activity with students on Tuesday by making a card for my co-teacher- to say how we care.  I had to postpone it, unfortunately, but I actually think it works out better with my updated plan.  Tuesday was crazy lesson-wise, and I just did not have the time.  Plus, I didn't feel adequately ready to talk about death and how to show we care.  I did get another activity started with students who were there that day (I  have less students on Tuesday and Thursday).  I had hoped to get all other students going with it on Wednesday- but school ended up being closed because here in the Twin Cities, MN. We have been having extremely cold temperatures.  I will now introduce the other students to it Friday.  The activity was actually on of your resources.  It is "The Great Kindness Challenge."  It is supposed to be going on this week- the last week of January.  Since that has not worked out so well, I've decided there is really no reason why we as a class cannot simply continue it throughout next week.  I signed up for the challenge and have access and downloaded the tools to use for the challenge.  Some of my students are already started, and I will extend it into next week, since others will just get started next week.  It provides many different "Acts of Kindness" that are on a checklist that can be marked off.  I talked to all my parents about it, along with the students.  I told them that if their child does any other Act of Kindness not on the list, to just write it on the back of the page.  I sent home a short reflection page for parents to do with their children (telling them to just pick a few of the questions), and also provided some reflection activities they could choose to do.  Later next week, all students will bring their pages back to me, and we will have a group reflection discussion.  I'm going to look at the reflection activities closer to see if there is one we could do together.  All students will be receiving a "Kindness" certificate for participating (another tool provided when I registered).  All students and parents were excited to do this.

    I just received in my class book order the book "What Does It Mean To Be Kind" by Rana DiOrio.  I read it to the class on Tuesday.  We will read it again Friday when more students are here.  It is an excellent book that gives many examples of how we can be kind.

    Now, to get back to my original planned activity of making a class card for my co-teacher.  I decided to order the book "Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children" by Bryan Mellonie.  This is another of the resources that many of you shared with me.  It will arrive at my school on Monday.  I will look it over Monday night and formulate a more specific plan for my lesson at that time.  I plan to read the book, and have a lesson and discussion with students on Wednesday of next week, when most the students will be there.  I haven't talked to my co-teacher yet to discuss- but I'm hoping she will be comfortable enough to be a part of our lesson and share with students how she has felt and dealt with the loss of a loved one.  I am thinking we can approach how the laughter last Friday made her really sad, and connect that back to how we can be kind and show her we care.  I then plan to end by us making the class card for her.  My plan is to have each student dictate a few words they want to say to show they care- I'll write it for them and then they will sign their name.  We will then give her the card.  I think it will be a much better approach then just having us make a class card.  This will help them develop some understanding of what has happened.

    I have also ordered two other wonderful looking resources you all provided to me: "The Kindness Curriculum: Stop Bullying Before It Starts" by Judith Anne Rice and "The Peaceful Classroom: 162 Easy Activities to Teach Preschoolers Compassion Cooperation" by Charles Smith.  These two books will also arrive Monday.  They both sound like they have some wonderful learning activities to do with students.  The Kindness Curriculum also says it has some activities that can be provided to parents to connect/continue their learning at home.  I know my parents will really appreciate that.

    As many of you mentioned, modeling is also essential for students in order to really learn Social-Emotional Skills.  We do practice this in our classroom.  We will continue to really work hard at providing positive modeling.

    I also really like the "Kindness Pledge" that was shared.  I' have written it down, and am thinking I would like to start teaching it to students and added it into the beginning of our day.

    I greatly appreciated all the other resources you provided to me.  I have been taking time to explore them all.  I can't say enough how I truly appreciate your input, guidance, suggestions, and resources.  They have all been beyond helpful!  I will let you know how "The Great Kindness Challenge" turns out, along with giving you an update after I give the lesson next Wednesday and we make the card.

    THANK YOU!!!

    ------------------------------
    Heidi Van Amburg
    PreK Teacher
    Primrose School of St. Louis Park West
    Crystal MN
    ------------------------------



  • 24.  RE: Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

    Posted 18 days ago
    Hi Heidi,
    We use a Wishing Well. We made a large Wishing Well and attached it with magnets to our board. We made heats with each child's picture on it and laminated them. When a child is absent, not feeling well, sad, mad... they place their name in the Wishing Well. The teachers and children "Wish Them Well" by placing our hands over our heats and as we repeat the phrase"We wish you well." We use it all year long and the children are using it independently.

    ------------------------------
    Colette Visser
    Teacher
    Trinity Academy
    Clarksburg NJ
    ------------------------------



  • 25.  RE: Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

    Posted 10 days ago
      |   view attached
    Hi All!
    I did my lesson on Wednesday, and it went really well!  The "Lifetimes..." book was perfect.   We had a great discussion after the book.  My co-teacher shared how she felt after losing her grandfather, and ways she and others helped her feel better. Students each listed an action or words they could say to a sad person to help them feel better (I will upload the chart paper with the ideas on Monday- I forgot to take a picture with my phone).  We then did a role play.  I picked two activities from "The Peaceful Classroom" book.  One was called "Sad Person", and the other was called "Generous For Us"- they are very similar activities, except the Generous for Us talks about what giving and generous mean.  I changed up one aspect of the Sad Person activity, and added an adaptation mentioned in Generous for Us.  What we did was each student got a turn to play each role.  There was a "Sad Person" and a person being kind to them.  The "Sad Person" sits in the middle.  The rest of the class does a chant: "Sad Person, Sad Person, It's okay to feel sad and blue.  Can someone in our group be Kind to you?"  The "Sad Person" picks one students from the group to be kind to them.  That person walks up to the "Sad Person" and says or does something to help them feel better.  Some students gave a hug- we emphasized that it is important to first ask "Would you like a hug?" or "Can I give you a hug?"  Others asked "Are you okay?", said "I'm sorry your sad.  I hope you feel better soon." and "Do you want to come and play with me?" (a few examples).  In the original lesson for the "Sad Person" it says to have a bowl with small trinkets or food items for the kind student to give to the sad person, but I thought the adaptation listed in the "Generous For Us" activity of using words or actions as a form of kindness, giving, and generosity- showing that we care was much better- especially since the whole point of the activity, in my mind, was to help students learn how to be kind, giving, and compassionate with their words and actions.  After the "Kind Student" said or did their thing to make the "Sad Person" feel better, the "Sad Person" sat back down on the rug, and the "Kind Person" got a turn to be the "Sad Person."  We kept going until everyone had a turn to role play both spots.
    After the role playing, during our Learning Center time, I called up each student to dictate to me a short caring/kind/compassionate statement toward my co-teacher, and then they wrote their name next to it.  We did the writing on a large poster we made for my co-teacher that said "Ms. Shelby: We Love You!"  The students said some very kind and caring things to her.
    I really think the lesson and activities were a huge success.  I have uploaded a copy of the poster card we made, and will share the Chart paper writing students did listing "Actions or Words we can use to help a sad person feel better" on Monday evening.

    Thanks again for all your great help, advice, feedback, suggestions, and resources!  I am so appreciative!  Between the "Peaceful Classroom" and "Kindness Curriculum" activity books, I have so many lesson and activities I want and plan to do.

    Heidi

    ------------------------------
    Heidi Van Amburg
    PreK Teacher
    Primrose School of St. Louis Park West
    Crystal MN
    ------------------------------



  • 26.  RE: Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

    Posted 9 days ago
    Hi Heidi,

    I am so glad those resources are working out for you. I always enjoyed doing the activities out of them with the children in my classrooms. Keep up the beautiful work.

    ------------------------------
    Regina Puckett
    Mentor and Trainer
    Origin's Learning Community
    Houston, TX
    "From the beginning, from the heart."
    ------------------------------



  • 27.  RE: Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

    Posted 8 days ago

    Heidi:
    It sounds like you did a beautiful job of creating a deep learning experience for the kids at their level.  It was wonderful to hear all of the suggestions and see the resources that people use, and especially lovely to hear about how you followed up with the children and your co-teacher.  You made a beautiful repair and I'm sure it had a positive and healing impact on the children and the adults.



    ------------------------------
    Aren Stone
    Child Development Specialist
    The Early Years Project
    Cambridge, MA
    she/her
    ------------------------------



  • 28.  RE: Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

    Posted 7 days ago
    I really enjoy reading and learning from all of you. Thank you. Debra

    ------------------------------
    Debra-Adette Esquivel Bogle
    Dr.
    San Pedro CA
    ------------------------------



  • 29.  RE: Teaching caring and compassion in the PreK classroom: New Teacher

    Posted 7 days ago
      |   view attached
    Hi All,


    Thank you all again for your wonderful help!  I really appreciated hearing from so many of you that are more experienced, and had some great resources.  I wanted to also share the Chart my students did with me listing the "Actions and Words we can use to help a sad person feel better."  I was very impressed by their responses.  We have this chart hanging up on our classroom wall.  It is still an ongoing process of learning to be caring, compassionate, and kind.  We are also working hard on regulating and understanding our own emotions, as well.

    I'm not sure I shared this here earlier, but I also do a mediation or deep breathing exercise with students 1-2 times per day, usually after indoor active movement or outdoor play (whichever we have dependent on our weather and temperatures).  I use a mediation app I discovered last spring.  I more recently found out that they offer the full subscription to the app (where you can access everything) "FOR FREE TO ALL EDUCATORS".  The app is called "Calm," and the free subscription for educators is called "THE CALM SCHOOL INITIATIVE."  Not only are there great meditations (of many variety) for you to use personally, but they have Kids Meditations broken down by age group- starting at 3-4 years old.  There are also other great things that come with the app- sleep stories (of many type- that really work), music (for focus, relaxation, and sleep), and even Master Classes of different topics.  If anyone is interested in the link to get to the Free Educator Subscription Sign Up, I have included my email below.  Please email me and I will get you the link.  It is an excellent tool- for your students and also for you personally.  I highly recommend it! I cant put the link directly in here, because even though this link is for free educator subscription- the Calm app is subscription based (I learned it was a no-no to post that here in Hello from a previous post I did- I am very happy to supply the information if you request it though).

    I have attached our Chart.  Thank you all for your generosity in helping me out!!!  Have a great week!!
    Heidi

    ------------------------------
    Heidi Van Amburg
    h_vanamburg72@comcast.net
    PreK Teacher
    Primrose School of St. Louis Park West
    Crystal MN
    ------------------------------