Teaching Feelings Literacy and Empathy Skills to Young Students
When I wrote my first book on the topic of bullying prevention, Friendship & Other Weapons, I wrote it with kids ages 5-12 in mind. Knowing that bullying peaks in middle school, I wanted to help young kids develop the social emotional skills they need to prevent the dynamics of bullying from taking root in their friendships.
To that end, I am still always developing and teaching new lessons that focus on building fundamental social and emotional intelligence skills, even from the earliest ages. This month, with my youngest students, I am teaching skills to differentiate feelings and recognize non-verbal emotional cues. This week, “the sorting game” has been a big hit, as kids pick a “feelings face” card from my magic box, then decide if the face looks MAD or SAD. With Kindergarten students, to build empathy skills, I add in a component where the kids are asked to imagine what might be making the person feel mad or sad. They love it!