One of the hardest concepts to teach children is moral reasoning and values. Dr. Arnold Goldstein, contributing author to core principles of our social skills curriculum, states “Whether a youth’s moral judgment is mature or immature is important, especially because as you think, so you act. Delay in thought and behavior is a twofold problem: antisocial youth show both prolonged immaturity in the stage of moral judgment and [persistent and pronounced cognitive distortions].” Empathy, as we have been teaching it, is the concern for others around you while appreciating what you have been given.
This year, three specific teaching methodologies, centered on empathy, are being implemented. The first is an Anti-Bullying Campus Campaign, recently celebrated during National Bully Prevention Week in November. The campaign reinforces treating people with respect and in the same way you want to be treated. This means understanding how others feel and using moral reasoning tools to interact with others in a socially acceptable manner.
Our second emphasis will be displayed throughout the year, with kickoff during the holidays on the “Night of Giving.” This beautiful, long-standing Kurn Hattin tradition happens at our annual holiday gathering, just before our evening meal, as each cottage announces the year-long community service project they plan to undertake. Students share with their peers how they made their selections, what it means to them and how they will make a difference to their chosen cause.
Lastly, we have all committed to seeking out opportunities to serve the hungry in various ways. Students and staff from Warner and Dickinson Cottages have joyously accepted the responsibility of preparing and serving meals at the St. Charles Soup Kitchen on a regular Sunday schedule.
“Working at the soup kitchen made me [realize] that I could be one of them…They appreciated the food and were really happy. They may not have a big house or fancy clothes, but they have BIG hearts.”
~Camille, 7th Grader
Sue Cota of Our Place Drop-In Center, had this to say about our students and staff after their Empty Bowl event in October:
Thank you so much for the work you and all the Kurn Hattin students did at the Empty Bowl dinner…We could not have done it without Kurn Hattin…Your direction and the students work flowed so smoothly. Thank you so much for that. Your service helps Our Place to continue the mission of “connecting people to food and each other.”
~Sincerely yours, Sue Cota
Director of Educational and Residential Services