Educators say that teaching compassion has become as vital as traditional core classes in elementary school as students face increased stresses and trauma.
The Jefferson County Public schools are testing a new approach that makes learning about kindness and compassion at the forefront, in partnership with the University of Virginia.
The Compassionate Schools Project will begin in Jefferson County by testing an integrated health and wellness curriculum at three elementary schools.
“It’s really about building capacity within our students to self-regulate and make great choices,” JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens said. She added that doing so will “foundationally cause them to be able to achieve more.”
The project is developed through University of Virginia research, offering a wide curriculum. The $11 million project is funded by outside donors, and includes posture exercises, nutrition education, and physical movement. Mindfulness practices are also included “for self-awareness, stress resiliency and self-control.”