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Empathy and Nature

Primary students tucking in the maple tree for hibernation
Primary students tucking in the maple tree for hibernation

Empathy is a complex emotion that helps people build connections with others — when we imagine how it feels to be another person, we can start to understand their suffering and joy.  In nature, children can start to learn empathy by appreciating and caring for plants and animals.

In our toddler Nature classes we begin by emphasizing the importance of being gentle and kind to nature.  In primary (ages 3-6) Nature class we pretend to be the animal we are studying — balancing like a squirrel or eating like a raccoon.  In Lower Elementary (grades 1-3) we sit silently in nature, appreciating the beauty around us as we use all our senses.  Taking it a step further, we become citizen scientists, doing such activities as counting birds to record migratory patterns.

Understanding how nature works may make us feel more connected and appreciate the importance of the delicate balance.  Learn more about how parents can exercise empathy at home in nature.

Ms. Janey
Nature Teacher

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