Counselor's Corner

by Mrs. O

PurposeFull Practice: Empathy, Lesson 1


Dear McKinley Family,

This week marks the end of Empathy, Lesson 1. It always amazes and inspires me, that most children intrinsically understand, appreciate, and exhibit empathy. But this isn't just my observation: Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of Negev and the Hebrew University of Israel, concluded that babies show empathy for a bullied victim at only six months of age ( Pretty impressive, and begs the question, "Is empathy innate and cornerstone to being human?" I believe it is.

I have seen empathy in action with my own children and grandchildren, and I love to capitalize on it. For example, my grandson Zane Anthony (4th grade) was visiting over the holidays from Seattle, Washington where his step-father is stationed with the Army. We had gone Christmas shopping together and were heading home. As we were exiting the Target shopping center he spotted two younger homeless ladies with signs asking for help. He said, "Grandma, can we give them something?" I responded, "heavens yes" and handed him some money to pass to them. Thereafter, a conversation ensued: "Zane, how did you feel when you saw them? How do you think it feels to be them? How do you think they felt after you handed them the money? How do you feel now?" Although Zane has always had a heart for the homeless (2 Christmases ago he had put together a list of grocery items that he wanted to deliver to them), these types of questions are purposeful and help to deepen the trait of empathy.

As I stated last week, I call this character trait our Super Power Practice. Why? Empathy affords us the ability to look past ourselves; and to connect to and understand the feelings of another (regardless of any real or perceived differences). The true beauty and magic of empathy: It forces us out of our comfort zone and enables us to act in humane and wonderous ways. As I tell our little Mallards, "Just like practicing math or reading skills; when we purposefully practice empathy, courage, respect, responsibility, gratitude..., we get better at them."

Please view the resources below and enjoy some family time while going through them. You will notice that I have left a few items posted just in case you missed them last week.

Warmly and gratefully yours,

Mrs. O (Ormachea)

McKinley School Counselor



Overview of Resources:

Family Connect and Create (FCC)- Information and photos re our first Family Connect and Create Day, and a spoiler alert for February's FCC.

1. Definition of Empathy

2. Links to Parent Resource Letters (English and Spanish) re Empathy

3. Excellent Read Aloud- A Little Spot of Empathy, and Video- All About Empathy

4. PurposeFull Practices, Review Activity- In case you missed it last week. This would be a great activity for your entire family. This worksheet can help you explore the different practices (Courage, Respect, Responsibility, Gratitude, and Empathy) covered thus far, and reveal strengths and challenges of each family member.

5. Two Guided Dance Videos (Per Science: Dancing + Together = Health and Bonding), and Three Mindful Practices (these are super helpful if you have had a busy or stressful day, but I love doing them anytime).

6. Our McKinley Schoolwide Expectations Chant- I'm going to start handing out Duck Bucks to students who have it memorized.

7. Families that Play Together, Stay Together: Information and Links to Local and County Events for Families

Family Connect and Create

Family Connect and Create

Family Connect and Create Day- Family Vision Boards and Breathwork

We want to take a moment and thank all of the families who were able to join us for our Family Connect and Create Day. We had a wonderful time being with all of you, sharing smiles and laughter, watching your families work together to create your own unique masterpieces, and slowing down and practicing breathwork with Jamie.

Spoiler Alert: We are already looking ahead and planning for another Family Connect and Create Day. It will likely be in early February, and center around creating a "love-ly" art project, and possibly helping students complete their Valentines cards for class parties.

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Partnering is Priceless

A Special Thank You to Our Wonderful Coffee Connection Parents: Mrs. Diana Velasquez, Ms. Justine Speegl, and Mrs. BreAnn Boyd; whose ideas (like Connecting and Creating) are blooming into fruition. We appreciate your wealth of knowledge, wonderful suggestions, commitment, and community mindedness.

1. Definition of Empathy

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2. Links to Parent Resource Letter: Empathy (in English and Spanish)

3. A Little Spot of Empathy -Read Aloud

If you have ever wondered how to define Empathy to a child, here is your answer. I highly recommend listening to this wonderful read aloud as a family. To view- click on picture to the right.

All About Empathy- Video

This video teaches the basics of empathy. It explains what empathy is and why it is important; and then it details how to start practicing empathy with others.

4. PurposeFull Practice Review Activity

This is a wonderful tool for the whole family to use. Discover and discuss individual strengths and challenges in each PurposeFull Practices covered thus far.

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5. Two Guided Dance Alongs, and 3 Mindfulness Practices

It is more important than ever for families to PurposeFully connect through fun activities such as dance; and equally as important, to incorporate calming practices into your day. Below are the resources I sent in my last newsletter- just in case you missed them.

*If you like to know the "why" behind the "what"; make sure to check outThe Science of Dancing Together link (middle picture), for more information.

6. Our McKinley School Expectation Chant

Make sure to ask your student to teach you the arm movements that go with our chant. <3
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7. Families that Play Together, Stay Together: Things to Do in Our County