Talking Early Years with June O’Sullivan: In Conversation with Helen Garnett

Time to Put Empathy at the Heart of Pedagogy

I first got to know Helen Garnett when I met her at an Empathy Lab event and was enthralled by her description of the word ‘empathy’. I went away and read her inspirational book, Developing Empathy in the Early Years: A Guide for Practitioners whereby she states ‘Empathy doesn’t grow on trees, it grows organically and incrementally’.

For me, that was a lightbulb moment.  I soon realised that both children and adults were not born with a given level of empathy. On the contrary. It is developed throughout each of our lives and is a vital skill. Furthermore. empathetic behaviour doesn’t just happen – it is caught within a loving and nurturing environment.