- Danish children are exposed to lessons as early as preschool that are specifically designed to foster feelings of empathy and understanding.
- The Atlantic reports a program called Step by Step presents young students with pictures of kids showing a range of emotions and helps them identify these feelings, talk about them and respect them.
- Anti-bullying programs teach students to care more about each other, the CAT-kit program helps students develop empathy and emotional awareness and classroom teachers group students of mixed abilities to encourage collaboration, teamwork and respect across differences.
Social-emotional learning is an important and increasingly popular focus for K-12 in the U.S., alongside the major academic subject areas. Schools are where students develop a good amount of their social skills, learning how to interact and work with others. That is one reason why people oppose segregated schools. Especially in a globalized world, a student’s ability to respect and work with someone who is not like her is a prized skill.
Many schools are shifting kindergarten back to a play-based curriculum, following years of pressure to drill skills that students need for standardized tests just a few years later. Play, however, helps children learn to collaborate and gives them a more engaging opportunity to improve math and literacy skills. Perhaps a greater focus on empathy and this type of play early on can decrease the rates of bullying in middle and high schools in the United States.