|"Are you OK?" A little question can mean so much — especially coming from a caring kid. How to bring out the empathy in your child? Find out — and learn how it can help raise their test scores, too! Also, cool tips for chillin' with the kids, and 31 great ways to enjoy a rainy day recess. Play on!
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Getting School Ready: Does your child have a learning disability?
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About this issue
Last summer, my 6-year-old had her first sleepover, thus permitting her deep-sleeping middle-aged mom to finally snooze in. It was Saturday morning at 7:30. The phone rang. “Alayne, you have to see this amazing award-winning Canadian curriculum designed to reduce bullying and promote empathy. May I come over . . . now?” urgently requested my usually Zen-like friend John Sabol. An hour later, having viewed the Roots of Empathy DVD, I knew this quiet icon of action would help to launch this program in spite of untold bureaucrat hurdles and the slow-downs that come with summer break.
Roots of Empathy launched in the United States, in our area only, in 10 classrooms. It’s one of the most exciting and sustainable elements of the Seeds of Compassion initiative, featuring His Holiness the Dalai Lama (“Teaching Empathy”).
I was covered in goose bumps recently as I observed a classroom “Roots” experience while standing next to the program’s creator, Mary Gordon, and Seattle Schools’ superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson, at John Stanford International School. Seeing baby Elsa sneeze and hearing the chorus of the most empathetic “Bless you, Elsa’s” coming from the 5th graders was just the beginning. Watching these students study the emotional connections between Baby Elsa and her mom, and being coached by a Roots instructor, it’s easy to see how students are helped to understand their own feelings and those of others as they learn to develop empathy. My hope, as we end 2007, is that we add “compassion fanatics” to our region’s legacy (after giving the world computers and coffee addicts!) Of all the worldwide movements to originate in our area, this is the one we should join in, take action on, and be most proud of.
We welcome 2008 with a new column, Relate, written by Carolyn Pirak of the Gottman Institute (“Making a New Year’s resolution with your partner,"). Where better to begin to elevate your compassion than at home, making joint resolutions with your partner for joy and success in the coming year?
A happy and healthy New Year to you and yours!
—Alayne Sulkin, Publisher/Editor
P.S. Don’t miss Parentmap’s Preschool Preview nights in January!