How to Foster Empathy in Children

Research shows that we are each born with a given number of neurons that participate in an empathetic response. But early life experience shapes how we act on it.

Take a look at this New York Times article about fostering empathy in children:

“Virtual Autism” May Explain Explosive Rise in ASD Diagnoses

Some children who have been diagnosed with autism or autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) could dramatically benefit from not being exposed to electronic screens.

New clinical case studies have found that many young children who spend too much screen time—on TV’s, video games, tablets and computers—have symptoms labeled as “autism.”1 When parents take away the screens for a few months the child’s symptoms disappear. The term for this phenomenon is “Virtual Autism” or autism induced by electronic screens. The term “Virtual Autism” was coined by Romanian clinical psychologist Dr Marius Zamfir.

Romania witnessed an astonishing rise in autism among youngsters in a children’s hospital. The cause was unknown, so one psychiatrist dug into the activity logs the hospital collected on all admitted patients. In those records he found a strong trend: children presenting with autism were spending four or more hours a day watching some kind of screen: television, computer, tablet, or phone. Today in Romania, treatment of autism by screen withdrawal is considered routine and has public support.

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Want to be a great parent? Let your children be bored

From books, arts and sports classes to iPads and television, many parents do everything in their power to entertain and educate their children. But what would happen if children were just left to be bored from time to time? How would it affect their development?

I began to think about boredom and children when I was researching the influence of television on children’s storytelling in the 1990s. Surprised at the lack of imagination in many of the hundreds of stories I read by ten to 12 year-old children in five different Norfolk schools, I wondered if this might partly be an effect of TV viewing. Findings of earlier research had revealed that television does indeed reduce children’s imaginative capacities.

For instance, a large scale study carried out in Canada in the 1980s as television was gradually being extended across the country, compared children in three communities – one which had four TV channels, one with one channel and one with none. The researchers studied these communities on two occasions, just before one of the towns obtained television for the first time, and again two years later. The children in the no-TV town scored significantly higher than the others on divergent thinking skills, a measure of imaginativeness. This was until they, too, got TV – when their skills dropped to the same level as that of the other children.

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Photo by Joel Overbeck on Unsplash

Upcoming Primary Events

March 1, 2019:
First day of the 2019-2020 open enrollment

March 7, 2019:
Performance by Bruce Cotter, bagpipe player

March 8, 2019:
Family Fun Night fundraiser at Leigh campus

March 15, 2019:
Brass instrument demonstration.  Minimum day.  School ends at 12:00 noon.  No daycare.

March 21, 2019:
Europe Immersion Day

March 22, 2019:
Percussion instrument demonstration

March 23, 2019:
Open House at Foxworthy Campus

March 25, 2019:
Norouz celebration and presentation.  Performance by Niosha Dance Academy, Persian dancer.

March 29, 2019:
Family Movie Night fundraiser at Foxworthy campus

Upcoming Elementary Events

March 1, 2019:
Open Enrollment Begins

March 5, 2019:
E2 Field Trip to B.A.G.I.

March 19 & 21, 2019:
E1 Open Classroom for Current Families

March 23, 2019:
Open House at Foxworthy Campus

March 26, 2019:
Jest In Time Physics Presentation

March 27-28, 2019:
Scholastic Book Fair

March 29, 2019:
Movie Night – E2 Science Camp Fundraiser

April 4, 2019:
Spring Music Recital at Foxworthy 4:00 pm

April 8-12, 2019:
Spring Break

April 18, 2019:
Spring Party 1:00-3:00 pm

April 24-26, 2019:
E2 Science Camp at Mother Lode River Center

April 29-May 1, 2019:
E1 (Third years) Standardized Testing

April 30-May 2, 2019:
E2 (Fourth – Sixth years) Standardized Testing