This guide to empathy in the early years aims to help early years professionals develop young children’s empathetic sense and foster empathetic settings.
Empathy is an essential part of being human: it allows us to connect with others, which in turn can open doors to happiness and success. Although everyone is born with an inherent capacity for empathy, children have the power to grow and rebuild their natural supply, and even ‘learn’ to be more understanding towards others.
A greater ability to empathise can help children learn things more quickly, understand other people, and live collaboratively with others for the rest of their lives. The longer we live, the harder it is to engender a strong ability to empathise, so it is incredibly important to teach it early on.
This concise, practical guide provides early years professionals with the tools to make empathy the foundation for all their work. It reveals where the roots of empathy lie, how to prioritise it in practice, and how it manifests itself in young children’s developing brains. It includes simple teaching strategies and creative ideas for empathy-building games and activities, enabling practitioners to help children grow up as happier, more thoughtful individuals.
Developing Empathy in the Early Years explores the historical background of both individual and global empathy, and the essential role that a whole-school empathetic approach can play in an early years classroom. It touches on affective and cognitive empathy, the importance of healthy conflict and conflict resolution, and also discusses autism and how practitioners can embrace working with children with autism with increased understanding and empathy.
The book focuses on practical strategies rather than academic theories, for example suggesting ways to help pre-school age children develop their theory of mind. It assumes no prior knowledge of the area but acts as an accessible and easy-to-use guide to empathy development.
Author Helen Garnett is a teacher with 30 years’ experience and a mother of four children. After running her own pre-school for ten years, she became an educational consultant to Riverston Group. She has also co-written an early years curriculum and assessment tool that is currently being used in India.
"Practical suggestions alongside informed theory make a strong guide to this essential area of early childhood practice" — judge
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