MORRISTOWN, NJ - Like many things, kindness is a quality that children learn over time and through practice. Through learning about kindness students learn about empathy.
Empathy, the ability to understand another person's feelings, develops over time. At Unity Charter School kindness and empathy are qualities the students are taught throughout their academic career. Recently a group of 2nd to 4th grade students developed an important interest group.
The interest group designed and sewed pillowcases for children hospitalized with traumatic illness. The pillowcases were then donated to Ryan’s Case for Smiles. Throughout their time in this learning group, which lasted six weeks students learned sewing basics, safety and use of a sewing machine. More importantly students learned the importance for doing for others and assisting others.
Ryan’s Case for Smiles is one of the few volunteer organizations solely dedicated to helping kids feel better to heal better. While other great organizations focus on research and finding a cure, they work to improve the quality of life of children and their families as they undergo treatment.
Empathy goes beyond being able to see another person’s point of view, Rick Weissbourd, the co-director of the Making Caring Common Project. He goes on to say that in order to be truly empathetic, children need to learn more than simple perspective-taking; they need to know how to value, respect and understand others.
Teacher Jen Carcich said, “It was amazing to see how quickly the children took to sewing. Not only were they able to master the whipstitch when making toy mice for St. Hubert's Animal Shelter, but they were also able to each use the sewing machine to create colorful pillow cases in a matter of a few classes. Each and every child was excited to sew and even more excited to know that they were making a difference with their new found talents.”