12/10/2013 09:52 pm ET Updated Feb 09, 2014

Learning to Be Kind

"All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten."

This tried and true phrase has been used over and over again by people seeking to explain the importance of the simplest lessons. There is so much truth to this expression. In Kindergarten you learn your ABCs; you learn number recognition; you learn to write your name, walk in line, raise your hand. All of these lessons are crucial to your success moving forward in your life and in your schooling.

One thing to point out is that one of the simplest lessons children need to learn is to care about one another, to have a genuine understanding of how to treat others and how to empathize with the needs of others. What we must remember is that these lessons are not always guaranteed. They are not always innately in children's understanding. There is not always a set plan to teach children to care about one another. There needs to be.

As a Kindergarten teacher you would never assume your students knew their letters; you would assess that. Likewise, you would never assume your students knew their ABCs; you would assess that. We need to do the same and assess if our students know how to care about others and if they know how to empathize with the needs of others.

As teachers, we need to teach them kindness. We need to provide opportunities for our students to be actively engaged in learning a social curriculum. Students need to have a social-emotional intelligence. We need to give our students experience in caring for others, in empathizing with the needs of others, and in having compassion for others. It is when students have the opportunity to tangibly experience these firsthand that they learn.

Students learn by doing. Students will learn to be kind, by being kind. We need to provide our students this opportunity. Our world will come to know kindness when we decide it's as important to explicitly teach as 1, 2, 3 or A, B, C.