Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Kelsey Todd, Partnership Associate at Empatico. This free tool was founded to cultivate an empathetic future generation with a greater understanding of others regardless of their location. They were incubated by The Kind Foundation, a separate charitable entity established by KIND Healthy Snacks. Empatico empowers teachers and students to explore the world through experiences that spark curiosity, kindness, and empathy.
Tell us about the opportunity Empatico offers for children.
At Empatico, we believe that when students have the opportunity to meaningfully interact with one another, it can promote a lifetime of curiosity and kindness. That is why we offer a free tool to connect classrooms around the world through live video technology and standards-aligned, research-based activities. Empatico is available for English- and Spanish-speaking classrooms with students ages 6-11 years old. Since launching less than two years ago, Empatico has already brought together nearly 29,000 students globally and we are just getting started! Our vision is to give millions of students the opportunity to connect and explore their similarities and differences while fostering empathy.
What are the Empatico activities and how are they used?
Empatico activities help students practice social skills, such as respectful communication, perspective taking, cooperation, and critical thinking, as they experience positive connections with peers around the world. All of our activities are standards- and research-based and fit easily into existing curriculums. Our activity plans can be followed step-by-step or tailored to a classroom’s needs. Empatico offers ten total activities:
- Get To Know You – good for first exchanges
- Ways We Play
- Community Cartographers
- Helping Hands
- Weather out the Window
- Everyday Energy
- Our Local Landmarks
- Festivals Around the World
- Folktales to Learn From
- School Tour
How do Empatico activities strengthen social and emotional learning?
Empatico activities incorporate insights from child development research to create meaningful experiences and positive perceptions among children around the world. All our activities incorporate four Empatico skills that strengthen social and emotional learning (SEL). These skills are respectful communication, critical thinking, perspective taking, and cooperation. We offer teacher resources to help develop and encourage these skills, including a guide for navigating student differences during an exchange. Additionally, we provide guided questions for student conversations that encourage students to share personal stories during interactions as a way to increase trust and empathy between classes. Plus, students are taught our “me too” hand signal to emphasize their similarities and build stronger relationships. You can learn more by reading our research brief here.
Kelsey Todd is the Partnerships Associate at Empatico. Before joining Empatico, Kelsey was at KIND Healthy Snacks, working on the KIND Movement – KIND’s mission to make the world a little kinder. In this role, Kelsey worked on programming for The KIND Foundation, including the KIND Schools Challenge, a grant program that funded student-led initiatives for making schools kinder and more inclusive. Kelsey is a graduate of Boston College with a degree in English and Environmental Science.