Education Compassion Reader


Aboriginal Australian painting, "The Wurreker" (Message Carriers) by Kevin J Williams. The story of the painting is that of Wile the Possum and Tyuling the Goanna. Wile and Tyuling are the Totems of learning and they are seen reaching out to people in the community to carry the messages of knowledge.  The red circle in the middle of the painting represents the heart of the community.

The Education Compassion Reader is divided into topics that range in presentation from investigating compassion and other related skills (i.e., altruism,  empathy, forgiveness, gratitude, happiness, integrity, justice, kindness, mindfulness, resilience, self-compassion, and responsibility), and finding ways that they can be applied to education, to reading about some of the latest research on the science of compassion. 

Of utmost importance for parents, as well as teachers, are articles that relate directly to raising a responsible child. Also, there are two sections that speak to new ideas and theories about education.  "Thinking about Education," provides background information and in most cases, video presentations on radical ("getting to the root") and transformational ideas for the classroom and beyond, from pre-school to graduate school, and within community-based settings. "Successful Education Models and Organizations" presents new approaches that are demonstrating some significant measure of success throughout the global community.

The purpose of this Compassion Reader, like "readers" in all other of our program sectors is to provide ideas and processes that are being developed, experimented with and used successfully in various communities. These programs and ideas can be considered by any educational institution as they explore their compassion action plan.


Jeswin Thomas,

Investigating Compassion and other Related Skills

The Shift From Teaching Content To Teaching Learning

To Advance Education, We Must First Re-imagine Society

Adapting A Social Learning Strategy Framework For Education

Secure Students' Hearts, or You Don't Have a Shot at Their Brains

Using the Arts to Build Empathy, the Ultimate 21st Century Skill

A Better List Of Ideas For Project-Based Learning

A Teachable Moment

What Does It Mean To Be A Change Leader in Education?

Emotional Intelligence, Our Children and How You Can Make a Difference

What Can Schools Do to Build Resilience in Their Students?

Five Research-Driven Education Trends At Work in Classrooms

How Journalists can Improve their Storytelling by Embracing Design Thinking

For Better Social Skills, Scientists Recommend a Little Chekhov

How to Teach… Mindfulness

Raising a Reader: Learning Empathy

Daniel and David: Determination, Strength and Resilience

Educational Neuroscience: Implications for Deaf Children

Gratitude Activities for the Classroom

Gratitude Can Fuel School Transformation

Helping Learners Remember What They Learn: 4 Time-Tested Principles

How Teaching Compassion Empowers Kids to Make the World a Better Place

Skills Students Must Manage to Succeed

How to Make Grateful Kids

Raising a Moral Child

Sowing Empathy and Justice in Schools Through Restorative Practices

Take an Empathy Pill and Call Me in the Morning

Teaching Your Students How to Have a Conversation

Ways to Curb Your Child’s Materialism

The Compassionate Achiever


Science of Compassion

If we say, oh, the practice of compassion is something holy, nobody will listen. If we say, warm-heartedness really reduces your blood pressure, your anxiety, your stress and improves your health, then people pay attention.  ~ James Doty, Professor of Neurosurgery, Stanford University School of Medicine; Director, Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education

Are our brains wired for compassion?  Current research tells us that they are.  Here is a series of articles geared to helping educators and the general public understand the relationship between science and compassion. 

Click here to go to our YouTube channel videos on Compassion and Science.  Many of the people referred to in the articles below are featured speakers in these YouTube offerings.

The Science of Compassion

The Compassionate Instinct

Teaching Empathy and Compassion

9 Things Educators Need to Know About the Brain

6 Promising Trends for the New Nature Movement

Strategies for Getting and Keeping the Brain’s Attention

Study Shows Compassion Meditation Changes the Brain

The Brain Science Behind Learning

The Education of Orchids and Dandelions: It's Nature with Nurture


Successful Education Models and Organizations

The World Mural 16x24 feet original was collaboratively created by child artists from 50 counties on the National Mall in Washington DC. Mural creation is a peace educational component of the international children’s celebration organized every four years by the International Child Art Foundation. The mural, symbolic of collaborative creativity of the world’s children, depicts their visions of the world in the new millennium.

The "successful models" that are offered in this section are not recommended as the be-all-and-end-all of educational reform.  Indeed some of the programs presented, the Khan Academy for one, have been criticized as being the "same old, same old," dressed in new clothing.  This is probably a great exaggeration since the Khan Academy has done something unusual, in fact, something incredible, by "flipping" how we approach the process of education instruction.  This in itself is something to think about. It has also given the world thousands of videos that students are willing to explore.  Perhaps they are just a new and different approach to classroom presentation, but for some they are working--and this gets to the crux of the matter: are we going to find one approach to having a successful education system?  Probably not.

Some of these programs presented here are supplemental to already "packed" school requirements, others can be worked into state, national and international standards, and at least one is a pre-school program. Nonetheless, models here are presented as ideas that help us level the playing field, show students how to teach one another, reintroduce civic responsibility, and most importantly allow for them to explore their own emotions, by understanding how to relate compassionately to others and the world with dignity and respect.

How to Make Kindness The Foundation of School Culture

The Child-Driven Education

Community of Mindful Parents

The Skill of Listening

Fearless Changemaker

How do we Raise Critical Thinkers?

The Edible School Yard Project

Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence

Empathy and Compassion in Society

Greater Good Science Center

Mind with Heart

Project Happiness

Puget Sound Community School

Roots of Empathy/Racines d l'empathie

The No Bully System

The One World School House: Education Re-imaged

'World Peace Game' Teaches Kids Cooperation, Compassion

Establishing a Culture of "Can" in Your Classroom

How Homework Works in Finland

Lacey, Washington: Compassionate Schools in a Compassionate Community

Youth Ambassador's Overview of Introduction to Teaching

Bunscoil an Iúir: Reading, Writing and Relaxation

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