The value of the month of May was Empathy, and in order to explain this concept to the kids in the afternoon it was necessary to start with the most basic aspect of empathy: our emotions and feelings. First we asked the class as a group to come up with a list of 10 to 15 examples of emotions or feelings and wrote them on the whiteboard. During the activity, the kids were given small 4″x4″ cardstock squares and were instructed to choose one emotion from the list and try to paint it. If they finished one they could continue painting as many emotions as time warranted.
The challenge for the kids in doing this activity was that they were to paint “abstractly” which was often a hard concept for them at first, but after a while they really got into it. They had to think about how the emotion would be depicted visually; what color(s) would it be? what kinds of marks would show it well? how does this emotion make you feel? In doing so they learned about the artistic principle of abstraction while simultaneously getting to know better the subtleties of our emotions. Now we can all be more empathetic towards other people´s feelings!