Kim Schonert-Reichl: Why Educate the Heart?



Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.     Aristotle

Educating the heart refers to the importance of not only focusing on developing the cognitive aspects (our minds) but also all the qualities that make us human (our hearts) and ultimately give us meaning in our lives. In this short video, Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl explains why we need to prepare our children for this world by educating their hearts, and how we can do so.

Why? Science clearly shows that teaching skills such as empathy, compass, altruism, and kindness helps children be successful in school and later in life.

How? Create the conditions where children feel connected with others and have the opportunity to practice social and emotional skills with others.


This review of 213 studies of school-based social and emotional learning programs was published in the January 2011 issue of Child Development and has become one of the most important and frequently cited documents in the SEL field.

  • Secure and Calm

    Secure and calm describes the ability to take part in daily activities and approach new situations without being overwhelmed with worries, sadness or anxiety. To be secure and calm also means being able to cope with stress and pressure, and to bounce back from difficulties.
  • Gets Along with Others

    Getting along with others is the ability to form positive and healthy relationships with peers and adults. Children with better abilities to regulate their emotions and behaviours have more friends and experience more positive playtime with their peers.
  • Alert and Engaged

    Being alert and engaged is the ability to manage and direct one's own feelings, thoughts and emotions. In general, the ability to be 'present' and to exercise self-control.
  • Compassionate and Kind

    Being compassionate and kind is closely related to empathy. While empathy refers more generally to the ability to take the perspective of and to feel the emotions of another person, compassion goes one step further.
  • Solves Problems Peacefully

    Managing conflict effectively is about creating an atmosphere where violence and aggression are not likely. To resolve conflict means using empathy, problem-solving skills, understanding other points of view and coming up with ways to make things right in a fair way.