My good friend Vanessa Levin at pre-kpages.com has created a “gift of love” for her two rescue dogs who passed away. It’s a free animal shelter service learning project and mini dramatic play kit. I love what Vanessa says about the importance of developing altruism and empathy in young children:
Teaching young children to understand the feelings of others and engage in unselfish or altruistic behaviors may seem like an impossible task. However, researchers have found that teachers can create a caring classroom community that fosters the development of empathy and altruism by collectively engaging children in activities that benefit caring for people, the environment, and animals. Not only should we provide opportunities for children to participate in these types of helpful activities but also to recognize their own behaviors as kind and generous. Remember the scene in movie The Help where the main character Aibileen tells Mae Mobley she is kind and she is important? Aibileen was on to something there.
I also learned something new about service learning:
Service learning is a method of teaching that combines formal instruction with a related service in the community. Service learning integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, encourage lifelong civic engagement, and strengthen communities for the common good.
You can read more about it here: