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Lesson 1: What is Compassion?

Before students can understand how to act more compassionately, they must first develop a foundational understanding of the concept. In this animated lesson, relatable characters introduce students to compassion. Following the whole-group experience, teachers can then lead a classroom discussion and activity or log into the digital platform where students individually or collectively apply learning in fun, digital activities.

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The Compassion Project is a free multimedia curriculum containing 15 classroom-based lessons that each take approximately 30-45 minutes to complete with students. There are digital activity extensions for three of the core lessons that bring these topics to life.

The lessons are scaffolded, building upon each previous lesson. Students will get the most out of the project by taking all lessons in order and using all components. However, you can also pick and choose your lessons.

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Explore more of the Compassion Project! The boxes below contain a short description of each lesson. Hover over each box to learn more.

Understanding Compassion

Lesson #1

What is Compassion?

What is Compassion?

Before students can understand how to act more compassionately, they must first develop a foundational understanding of the concept. In this lesson, compassion is taught in context so that young learners are able to relate it to their own personal experiences.

Lesson #2

What is Empathy?

What is Empathy?

Understanding how someone else feels is a key building block to being more compassionate. Through perspective-taking exercises and discussion, students connect the dots between empathy and compassion.

Lesson #3

Why be Compassionate?

Why be Compassionate?

Students may feel compassion more easily for those who seem more like themselves than those who they perceive as different. This lesson helps students understand why it is important to treat everyone with compassion- including those who seem very different from themselves.

Lesson #4

Our Emotions Part 1

Our Emotions Part 1

Being able to effectively communicate and identify emotions helps support giving and receiving compassion. By exploring how different scenarios may trigger different emotions, students learn how to effectively describe their feelings.

Lesson #5

Our Emotions Part 2

Our Emotions Part 2

When students don’t understand how to manage strong emotions, their behavior and decisions may be negatively influenced. This lesson helps students understand constructive ways to handle strong or difficult emotions.

Self Compassion

Lesson #6

Self Care

Self Care

Understanding and treating oneself with compassion is just as important as treating others with compassion. This lesson offers students tools to show themselves kindness and respect.

Lesson #7

Being Mindful

Being Mindful

The technique of calmly paying attention to the present moment, or being mindful, helps improve self-regulation and sense of well-being. Students practice different mindfulness exercises in this lesson and discuss how it may help their daily routines.

Lesson #8

The Growing Brain

The Growing Brain

Like many skills, compassion can be improved over time through practice. This interactive lesson helps demonstrate how students can improve and grow many different skills through practice.

Lesson #9

We All Make Mistakes

We All Make Mistakes

It can be difficult to practice self-compassion when we feel disappointed in ourselves because we’ve made a mistake. Through class participation and discussion, students learn how to forgive themselves and others for mistakes and failures.

Lesson #10

Overcoming the Inner Critic

Overcoming the Inner Critic

During moments of frustration and disappointment, we may use negative self-talk. In this lesson, students will practice applying previously learned concepts such as self-compassion, mindfulness, and growth mindset to overcome the inner critic.

Practicing Compassion

Lesson #11

Every Day Compassion

Every Day Compassion

Research suggests that compassion can have a contagious effect- seeing someone behave compassionately inspires others to act with compassion. Through role-playing activities, students identify concrete ways they will exercise compassion throughout the day.

Lesson #12

Compassion in Our Class

Compassion in Our Class

Compassion is not only about giving to others, but also receiving from others with a sense of gratitude. This lesson explains how students can practice expressing gratitude for others who have shown them compassion.

Lesson #13

Compassion in Our School

Compassion in Our School

When our own self-interests are in conflict with the interests of others, it may be more challenging to act compassionately. Students will examine barriers to compassion in this lesson and how they can overcome them.

Lesson #14

Compassion in Our Communities

Compassion in Our Communities

Because of their interconnected nature, compassion can be a critical force in strengthening the quality of communities. This lesson helps students understand how they can contribute positively to their communities.

Lesson #15

Day of Compassion

Day of Compassion

Student participation in community service projects has a positive impact on behavior and academic achievement. This culminating lesson puts all of the concepts learned into action as students engage in a service project.

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