We know that as our partners in building the CLC school community, you value the importance of emotional education and social responsibility. Last year, with your help, we piloted a “Compassion & Power” curriculum, which was focused on awakening children’s feelings of empathy and agency. It is our strong conviction at CLC that children have a deep and developing capacity to care for others and to act for themselves. Simply put: our goal is to help children feel that they matter, and that others do as well.
Last year, we wanted to give children a tangible vehicle for talking about emotions and practicing proactive kindness. Inspired by Lesley Koplow’s “Emotionally Responsive Practice,” we launched a school-wide curriculum in which every child received a special stuffed woodland creature to care for. We encouraged emotionally reflective conversations among children with simple prompts such as, “What is your raccoon afraid of, and how can we help?” We were moved by the ways the children processed and communicated complex, potentially overwhelming emotions when given concrete tools and the respectful ear of adults.
During the opening days of this school year, our children demonstrated their eagerness to find ways of understanding and helping people who are suffering. In our oldest classroom, children came to school asking questions about the hurricanes that had been devastating the country for weeks. Our teachers in the Purple Room noticed the feelings just under the surface and made sure to create space to extend the conversation. They gave the children art materials, books, and conversation time to articulate their feelings and to ask questions. The children wondered if friends in Puerto Rico were okay, and if they had the things they need to feel safe. In a class-wide discussion on helping friends in need, one Purple Roomer realized, “We could be the helpers!” The class then organized an incredibly productive drive for gathering and distributing essential items. We were proud but not surprised that children as young as 3 had the impulse to see a problem in a far-away community and look for a solution in our own.
The desire to help is an innate human instinct – but if not fostered actively, it can remain unappreciated and underdeveloped. Turn on your television, open a newspaper, scan your twitter feed; it is plain to see that this country – this world – has a major empathy problem, from the most powerful echelons down. Imagine a society in which the values of kindness, equality, and the importance of difference are celebrated and actively taught. In our very small corner of the world, we are taking action to help young people incorporate these values in the very foundations of their budding selves. The privilege of this profound opportunity is not lost on us.
In times like these, it’s easy to lose sight of how good human beings can be – but at CLC, we see every day the compassion and power of the rising generation.
CLC depends on revenue from tuition, but as a nonprofit organization we also depend on contributions to the greater learning community we are developing together. In this season of reflection and giving, we ask you to consider making a tax-dedictible donation to help CLC in its work to develop a curriculum and a unique environment that models the world in which we all want to live.
Please consider giving to CLC online today. Large or small, your donation is critical in helping to ensure a better future with and for our children.
Molly Vozick-Levinson, Director
Lily Bellow, Assistant Director
Mark Taylor, Board Chair