Last week I attended a parent training hosted by the Chula Vista Elementary School District.
The training is aimed at parents, so that they may understand what is being taught at the schools, and they may help reinforce values at home.
I was pleasantly surprised.
According to the training, incidents with student behavior are on the rise, and we have solutions to help cater to the growing need.
Before students were taught at school how to reading, science, math, history, geography, along with PE. Some lucky schools also got art and music classes.
But the Chula Vista Elementary School District recognized that it was not enough, and they are now taking steps to support the whole child.
One of the changes is that now children are being taught at least 15-20 minutes of Social Emotional Learning, many more classrooms getting more instruction than that as Social Emotional Learning is now being embedded into the Curriculum.
Students are now being taught how to make friends, how to be polite to adults, how to give and accept compliments.
I remember being one of those kids who was on the playground and didn't really get the rules of some games, the difference between tag, freeze tag, and hide and seek tag all confused me. Nowadays I would not have that problem as teachers are in charge of knowing the games that are being played on the playground and making sure that all the kids understand all the rules.
There are whole child assessments being done now too.
When a child has a hard time reading, we find the problem. We figure out which letters they know, which sounds they have mastered, and what comprehension levels they are at.
Similarly, kids are now being given "quick assessments" which include: did the child smile today? Do they visit the Nurse Office often? Do they complain about headaches and stomachaches? Do they have friends? Are they connected to other adults.
At first, I was looking at this new way of teaching and wondering about the "poor teachers" who are now having to assess more, and basically work more in the classroom.
But within the meeting I was already embracing it.
We have empathy problems here in the United States. We have School Shootings, Bully's, Kids getting beat up, and even killed while other children are watching and recording on their smart phones instead of using those phones to call for help.
Perhaps if students are taught to connect more with their classmates, they will humanize each other again, and some of these issues we have been having will start to eradicate themselves.
I don't know what other school districts are doing to help combat the lack of humanity that our children are growing up with, but with this training, I was proud to be a part of the district that is actively looking for and working on a solution.
Are your children being taught empathy at school? I would love to hear about your experience.