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Educator Experiences: Compassion and Empathy in Infants

May 14th, 2024Umbrella News

Compassion and Empathy in Infants
By: Megan Ferguson 

I struggled to start this blog. I knew that I wanted to talk about this topic. I know so many inspirational quotes; I know so many personal stories I could share. I thought about the COVID-19 Pandemic, the strange times we live in now and all the things’ people are going through. I sat for a long time thinking of the right things to say. I thought about my own family, my team members, my children at work and their families. But when I was playing on the carpet in the Infant room one day, I just watched and observed how they played and connected with each other. These young children that are so fresh in the world, learning new skills everyday and are so sweet, caring, compassionate and empathetic to each other. I was thinking about how these little humans can completely change my day in the best way, just by being here. Then it made me think about my daily life. “Treat others how you want to be treated”. How could I do something differently or did I make someone smile today?

Compassion and Empathy is something we can all use a reminder about. It’s something that we can do and completely change someone’s whole day. Smiling and saying hi, paying it forward in the drive thru, holding the door for someone, asking if they would like to talk when they’re upset. These are some of the things we teach our “School babies” every single day with every move we make and word we say. There are times when we forget. Sometimes we are too overwhelmed with our own lives to think about others in that moment. That’s okay. Take that moment for yourself. But remember it costs nothing to be kind. In the end you can help someone so much and make them feel good and you will feel good too.

When I see my Infants every morning, it’s like my own little cheer squad. “May-May!!!” they call me when I walk in the door. It’s my absolute favourite and warms my heart. Big smiles, hands in the air, showing me the coolest toy ever, wanting to show me the buses outside. A big thing we are showing our Infants about is gentle hands and kindness. Of course, we see our fair share of hitting or pushing, but once the Educators are down at their level, we talk it out and show how to use our gentle hands and instantly you will see an infant going to hug their friend, blow a kiss, share their car that they love or help them put on their shoes. It’s moments like this that really remind me how sweet and innocent these children are. We as adults tend to think about the negatives in our lives, understandably. So, do I. But as soon as I walk into the classroom, all my worries are gone. No amount of crying, fighting, screaming or craziness can hide the fact that these little infants have the biggest hearts, compassion and empathy.

The Infants enjoy reading books together on the carpet. They will share a book, take turns and put their arms around each other. When a child falls, another will yell “Oh no!” and run to blow them a kiss. At lunch, they will sit side by side either at the table or in the highchairs and hold hands. (…and try to take each others food but baby steps!). My heart just can’t!!

Next time you are in your classroom, try to take a moment to just sit with them and take it all in. Observe them playing, their feelings, their reactions and smiles. These little humans teach us just as much as we teach them and it is so rewarding. Watch the older children too – see how their compassion and empathy changes and evolves with them as they grow. This isn’t a job. This is the best career and I am so thankful to be apart of the most crucial time for children’s development with the best children, best team and best families and sometimes just need a little reminder how the simplicity and enjoyment of life. What can you do today to show kindness and compassion?

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