Teaching Children Empathy, By Jessica Lahey, the New York Times

When Harvard University’s Making Caring Common Project released their report, “The Children We Mean to Raise: The Real Messages Adults Are Sending About Values,” many parents and educators — myself included — were surprised to learn that despite all our talk about instilling character and empathy, kids may value academic achievement and individual happiness over caring for others. In the report, the authors explained that the children’s values reflected what they believe adults value.


Credit Jessica Lahey

In the wake of these dispiriting study results, the Making Caring Common Project and the Ashoka Empathy Initiative created a set of recommendations for teaching empathy to children.

Empathy goes beyond being able to see another person’s point of view, Rick Weissbourd, the co-director of the Making Caring Common Project, explained in an email. He points out that sales people, politicians, actors and marketers are able to do this kind of “perspective-taking” in pursuit of their professional goals. Con men and torturers use this ability to manipulate their victims for personal gain. In order to be truly empathetic, children need to learn more than simple perspective-taking; they need to know how to value, respect and understand another person’s views, even when they don’t agree with them. Empathy, Mr. Weissbourd argues, is a function of both compassion and of seeing from another person’s perspective, and is the key to preventing bullying and other forms of cruelty. Continue reading

HBMH Summer Camp: Music

Children are born to sing and dance!

This week’s summer camp theme is “music and movement”. All week long, our primary friends learned about rhythm, rhyme and melody while experimenting with several different musical instruments: rhythm sticks, tambourines, cymbals, triangles, drums, rain sticks, bells, and so much more. Each music and movement lesson included cultural aspects, geography, seasons, animals or feelings, giving our students a healthy foundation for music appreciation. Below are a few photos taken from our primary community, showing the different musical works that we enjoyed this week.

Photo 1_tambourinePhoto 4_floor rugEach work was presented with nomenclature cards, including the written name of the object, and matching photo. The room was filled with music all week as the children experimented with their new works!
Photo 2_music shelfOur “music and movement” shelf included individual baskets containing different instruments. Drum-making crafts and tracing were also a favorite this week!Photo 5_TrianglePhoto 6_CymbalsPhoto 3_xylophonePersonalized miniature Popsicle sticks so our friends could take and practice at home!

Stay tuned for more updates from our exciting summer camp adventures!

Learn about the benefits of music in Montessori!