Seeds of Compassion: One Year Later

May 6, 2009

SEATTLE—The “Seeds of Compassion” that were planted by last year’s visit by His Holiness the Dalai Lama are flowering at the New School at Columbia in Seattle, as teachers blend a Seeds-inspired “theme of the month” with lessons of the school’s violence prevention curriculum, the Second Step program. The theme for May is “love.”

WHAT: Each month, teachers use a “theme,” such as humility or love, to complement the Second Step instruction children are receiving.

HOW: Using a Committee for Children document about character education, the school selected “habits of the heart” as a framework for its monthly themes, which it matches to the units in the Second Step program.

Weekly spirit assemblies also focus on the habit for the month. Teachers also incorporate the themes into writing and literature.

WHO: The concept of blending themes with the Second Step program was originated by Rachel Rachel Powers-Carrasco, New School at Columbia counselor. More information on theSecond Step program is available from Committee for Children.

WHEN: The Second Step lessons are taught weekly in all grade levels at varying times. Assemblies are held weekly.

About Committee for Children: This 30-year-old Seattle-based nonprofit develops award-winning, research-based social-emotional learning curricula for kids in preschool through eighth grade. Their Second Step program has reached more than nine million children in schools around the world.

About Second Step: In Second Step lessons, students study and discuss core social-emotional values such as fairness, honesty, compassion, responsibility, respect, and self-discipline. When a school chooses to implement this program schoolwide, it is making a commitment to character education. The curriculum’s foundation rests on three essential social competencies: empathy, impulse control and problem solving, and anger management. The lessons provide opportunities for students to develop core ethical values through developmentally appropriate modeling, reinforcement, and practice.