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Empathy

This week I have been so fortunate to spend a lot of time with the EY1 children.

  • empathy 1
  • empathy 2
  • empathy 3
  • empathy 4

I have relished the opportunity to observe more closely and pay attention to the children and to see how alert they are to the feelings of others. There are many encounters where the children have found ways to offer comfort and support to their classmates. There are impressive examples of empathy and caring. Somehow the children can show us strategies and approaches that we can’t always see. I was reminded of the words of Loris Malaguzzi, “Things about children and for children are only learned from children.” 

The children's interactions with each other do much to grow a sense of belonging. Some children use body language or other gestures and signals, in order to communicate with others. They have many approaches and recognise perhaps, feelings that they themselves experience in the emotional expressions of others and seek out ways to offer  An arm around another child to comfort them. Taking a child by the hand to lead them to their group time space. A comforting pat on an arm. Bringing a toy to a distressed friend. Giving up a coveted object to bring joy to another. It is surprising how altruistic such young children can be. 

On Wednesday I observed a beautiful interaction between Laila-Rose and Aizah. I was quite touched and I felt that I would like to share it. Aizah was upset and was missing her mum. Laila-Rose came softly over to Aizah and gently put her arms around her. Aizah was instantly comforted. Laila-Rose led her over to the table where Aizah’s sister was working, sensing that Anaya also brings Aizah a sense of security and tranquility. Laila-Rose then began to draw Aizah a picture and gave it as a gift. Not a word was spoken yet the girls had a shared understanding of meaning. Laila-Rose then drew herself with Anaya on one side and Aizah on the other. Later that morning, Aziah asked for Laila-Rose and asked for help to find her. This was a small moment in time, yet full of significance for all three girls and perhaps the start of a joyful friendship.

It is heart warming to see our youngest children show such an understanding for others, they are sure to become the mediators of the future. 

I wonder about the many examples of empathy that you are sure to have noticed in your children?