The Power of Empathy in Action

Our virtue this month is service. Service is defined as giving to others, making a difference in their lives, and considering the needs of others as important as your own. It’s being helpful without waiting to be asked.

Having taught at MBTS for many years, I feel this is a quality that becomes intrinsic in our Montessori children. It is fostered and focused on in every level of our program, within every specialty or activity our students participate in. In PE I have to ask myself how best to get this message across and so a high priority became to center lessons around empathy.

I aimed to teach empathy, but found it too abstract for some of the younger ones. However, they grasped the concept of kindness easily. So, I integrated kindness and thoughtfulness into every lesson, striving to show all students that they too can find ways to include it. In Physical Education classes, kindness emerges as a potent problem-solving tool. I applaud acts of kindness and demonstrate it when it’s lacking.

Despite its simplicity, kindness does require practice. Yet, once ingrained, it sets off a chain reaction. Students begin to support and guide each other through challenges, fostering confidence and skill development. The result? A more enjoyable and successful class for everyone involved.

I have seen direct experience of this playing out with students over the years offering kindness or service throughout our school community, most recently our Upper El students offering to coach the new roller hockey club. They have taken on the task of assessing the level of students we expected at the session and how best we should approach the session. Each Jr. Coach was assigned a student and had to report back with the best action plan to suit their development. I was amazed at each coach’s ability to step up and outside their comfort zones as they faced a range of challenges and emotions from our new group of skaters.  Well done, Jr. Coaches!

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