If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

Dali Lama

Broadening the definition

The competency of Compassion is about the willingness to seek to understand others; an openness to, and tolerance of, perspectives that are different than our own. Compassion is active! It is the willingness to go out of your way in order to act on the behalf of others. Being kind, inclusive, fair, respectful, open-minded, and ethical are aspects of compassion. 

The Compassion we cultivate within our students involves teaching both social and emotional intelligence: the ability to read a social setting, bring understanding to it, and respond compassionately. At a young age, this may simply involve one child helping another child pick up a set of dropped crayons. A more sophisticated level of compassion might be witnessing a peer’s emotional struggle in an unjust social interaction. Reading the body language, bringing understanding to the social context and individual, and then following through with kindness is the kind of compassion we seek to cultivate. 

We also teach that compassion is an act extended to oneself. This requires helping our learners to develop self-awareness and self-understanding. Being able to recognize, for example, that high personal demands for perfection, might be creating anxiety, stress, or even a type of paralysis. Helping children to recognize such tendencies and then bring lightness, patience, and kindness towards themselves is just as important as extending compassion to others. 

By extending compassion, and cultivating compassion in our students, we create learning environments that are safe, warm, inclusive, and happy; such environments offer fertile ground for All learning to flourish.

Stories that connect to Compassionate


Sue’s Favourites

Do Unto Otters

competency based education

by Laurie Keller

Kindness is Cooler Miss. Ruler

competency based education

by Margery Cuyler

Yellow Tutu

competency based education

by Kirsten Bramsten

Little Beauty

competency based education

by Anthony Browne

Other Great Stories

Wilfren Gordon MacDonald Partridge

Wilfren Gordon MacDonald Partridge

by Mem Fox

Pete and Pickles

Pete and Pickles

by Berkeley Breathed

What about Bear?

What about Bear?

by Suzanne Bloom

Dirty Cowboy


by Amy Timberlake

Bear Feels Sick

competency based education

by Karma Wlson

A Visitor for Bear.


by Bonnie Becker

Nubs: The True Story of a Mut, a Marine, and a Miracle


by Brian Dennis

Kate & Pippen's Family

Kate and Pippin's Family

by Martin Springett

Marshall Armstrong is New to our School


by David Macintosh

Junkyard Wonders


by Patricia Polacco

A Home for Bird


y Philip Christian Stead

Truly Terribly Horrible Sweater


by Debbie Macomber

Mr. Lincoln's Way


by Patricia Polacco

Thank You Mr. Falker


by Patricia Polacco