Thursday, October 25, 2012

Parent-Teacher Conference: Empathy Is a Skill

"Mouse" by Katie Carleton



Will and I just got back from Katie's parent-teacher conference.  We were sent home with a folder of some of Katie's projects.  This one above caught my attention.  I'm glad to see they are teaching first graders the skill of perspective-taking.  Try to put yourself in another's shoes, or, in this case, another's bare paws, and think about how it would be to live in this world.  That is a skill we all need to hone.

Looking over Katie's mouse book above, I like how Katie's mind thinks.  She herself loves cats.  But she understands that if she were a mouse, she would feel differently about cats.  Good work!

As we were leaving the conference, Katie's teacher stood to shake our hands and said, "I really enjoy Katie.  She's such a sweet girl."

I'm glad to see public schools focusing on the whole child and not just test scores.  Academics are obviously important.  If a child doesn't know how to read or add and subtract, she will have tremendous difficulties as an adult in our society.  But if a child doesn't learn how to empathize, life will be much more challenging for her as an adult too.  "Plays well with others" is an elementary skill that serves all ages.