June 9 is Empathy Day! Empathy is the crucial skill we need to better understand others. Here are some ways you can help children develop empathy.
Stories are portals to other times and places. But perhaps most importantly, they’re doorways to other people’s hearts. When we engage with stories by listening to someone else’s experiences, reading books or studying artworks, we gain insight into how life looks and feels from a different point of view.
Practising empathy connects us so powerfully with our humanity that it can inspire social change. By broadening our perspectives, we begin to understand how we can support others in meaningful ways.
Empathy Lab have an impressive programme on June 9, to help us train our brains so that we can become more empathetic. All their events – from poetry writing to poster making – are perfect for home learning. Check out their free Family Activity Pack too.
Before June 9, you might like to warm-up your empathy neurons with this simple visual literacy activity. Using the worksheet below, can you create a portrait of someone expressing an emotion? Can you make this face happy? Sad? Confused? Send us your completed illustrations by tagging @curvedhousekids on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so we can guess which emotion you drew.
You might also like to explore Empathy Lab’s Read for Empathy Book Collections, which include Mum’s Jumper. This touching story by Jayde Perkin and published by our friends at Book Island, explores loss and grief in a way that’s accessible to children. Since difficult emotions are often the hardest ones to express and understand, books like this one are especially useful in building our empathy toolkits.
We look forward to hearing about how you celebrate Empathy Day. Get involved in the conversation online by using #readforempathy.
Image by Jude Beck