Georgetown Day School Teacher: Exercising Your Empathy Muscles: How do you build empathy?

A Georgetown Day School teacher talks about her favorite activities for keeping the empathy muscles strong

How do you build empathy and other changemaker skills (leadership, teamwork, problem-solving) in your students?


There are several things I do in my

classroom that really help build empathy

and changemaker skills

in my students.


• Role Play: Role play situations help kids take on a role and practice responding to situations in a safe environment. That way they have tools to respond, and practice in a safe way where they don’t feel threatened.

• Building Community: We do this in a really intentional way. We use responsive classroom greetings like making eye contact and recognizing each other during morning meeting. Students also share every day. You share who you are, not what you have, like aspects of your identity and culture. We do different read-alouds on gender, ethnicity, and race. The idea is that the more they share about themselves, the more they create windows and mirrors to see things that are similar and see what is different, and that is okay

• Appreciation Circles: ..

• Empathy Play Dates: …

.By Sandra Hinderliter