1st Edition

Building Empathy in Children through Community Connections A Guide for Early Years Educators

    200 Pages 77 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    200 Pages 77 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Taking a unique approach, which highlights lived experience and engagement with community, this book guides the reader on how to create learning environments in which children are encouraged to develop relationships, build meaningful connections and take action which contributes to the wellbeing of their own communities.

    Through evaluations and feedback from participating professionals, as well as children’s learning in the form of artworks and photos, Building Empathy in Children through Community Connections: A Guide for Early Years Educators highlights how community partnership programs between children and community groups builds empathy and wellbeing in early childhood. Drawing on extensive research and professional experience in psychology and early childhood, it provides details of various community connections programs and considers the ways in which early learning settings can engage with their communities as they meet the requirements and objectives of the curriculum. Each chapter provides practical advice on implementation as well as take-home messages intended to encourage and enable community engagement.

    Demonstrating how young children can develop empathy through building community connections, this book is a vital resource for early childhood educators as well as parents and those working in community programs and early childhood settings.

    Section I

    Introductory Remarks

    1. Children as active participants in their community

    2. Social Emotional Curriculum Objectives in Early Childhood Education

    3. The Foundation for Community Connections: Empathy and Associated Constructs

    4. Artistic meaning making in Early Years Education: Children’s Voices expressed through drawing, painting and narrative

    Section II

    5. Children Developing Empathy, Care and Concern for the Environment: Education for Sustainable Development in the Early Years

    6. Children as Global Citizens: Children’s Voices expressed through drawing, painting and narrative

    7. Friends on the Farm - Reciprocal Relationship building with people with Special Needs

    8. Building Intergenerational Connections: The Social and Emotional Benefits of Intergenerational Programs

    Section III

    9. The COPE-Resilience program: A guide to successful connections building activities at early childhood programs

    10. Community Connections


    Erica Frydenberg is Associate Professor and Principal Research Fellow (Honorary) in psychology in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne, Australia.

    Janice Deans is Associate Director Early Childhood Education, University of Melbourne, Australia.

    Rachel Liang is Honorary Research Fellow, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne, Australia

    ‘If you have ever pondered what could make the world a better place, the answer just might lie within the pages of this book. Could the major human-made problems of recent decades have looked different if all children were given the opportunity to learn empathy? There is every reason to believe that preventing future social injustice, inequality, conflict, climate change and poverty requires a focus on early childhood. This book is an opportunity for educators and parents to shape a brighter future – starting with the young children in their care.’

    Kelly-Ann Allen, Educational and Developmental Psychologist, Monash University, Australia.

    ‘Early childhood experiences provide vital seeds for ongoing social and emotional development in humans. This book offers a readily accessible and thoroughly researched resource for practitioners looking to foster children’s social and emotional development. The book is full of valuable information and examples for embedding social and emotional learning in early childhood classrooms.’

    Rebecca J. Collie, Scientia Associate Professor of Educational Psychology, UNSW Sydney.