A new free course that teaches primary pupils how to be compassionate and resolve playground disputes themselves has launched in the UK – the first of its kind.
The Compassion Project, which is for Key Stage 2 pupils, teaches children to notice how others may be feeling and to think about different points of view to their own.
Pupils are introduced to a group of cartoon characters who are preparing for a talent show and playing games in the playground. Through interactive scenarios, animated videos and offline activities, pupils are shown what compassion is and how to practise it to overcome disagreements and get along better with their classmates.
As part of the course, pupils are taught how to identify which emotions each character might be feeling and to learn that it is ok to have different feelings about things. Pupils are taught that empathy is when you can imagine how others are feeling and that compassion is doing or saying something helpful, kind or caring.
The course is the only one of its kind for primary pupils in the UK and has been adapted from a US version, which was the idea of LinkedIn Executive Chairman Jeff Weiner. The original version has already reached about 20% of all primary schools in the US.
The course, which is linked to the Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education programme of study, has been developed and tested by UK teachers. The PSHE Association has accredited the short blended learning course.
It has been launched in the UK by education company EVERFI and is underpinned by research from Loyola University in Chicago that shows teaching pupils compassion helps their social emotional skills as well as their capacity to learn.
Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn’s Executive Chairman, said: “Given the state of the world today and how much polarisation is taking place at a time when we actually need to be coming together to solve some of the world’s most challenging problems, I’m not sure I can think of anything more important than teaching compassion.”
Nick Fuller, EVERFI’s President (International), said: “We know from research that compassion enhances our overall well-being and our capacity to learn.
It is a quality that is very much in need in these troubling times and should be taught from an early age.
“Our hope, in launching the first UK course on compassion for primary pupils, is to help create a more equal society by providing young people with life skills that prepare them for a happier, safer and more resilient future.”
The course is completely free for all UK schools, with no plans to charge for any part of it in the future. It can be used in class or at home and teachers receive impact reports to show how much their pupils have learnt and understood.
The course has both online and offline resources, comprehensive lesson plans and pupil worksheets, all linked to the Key Stage 2 National Curriculum.
Schools can register to access the course – and others like it – here [everfiteachers.co.uk]