Heart-Mind 2014: The Science of Kindness


Heart-Mind 2014 brought together scientists, educators, parents, out-of-school care providers, health and wellness professionals, recreation and community leaders - and all those who want to help children flourish.

The theme of this year's conference was The Science of Kindness.

Compassion, empathy, altruism and kindness are positive qualities we intuitively want our children to have. These qualities help a child to be successful in all aspects of life. Scientific research shows that when children perform acts of kindness they are happier and have more friends. Bullying is reduced. Some studies even show that helping others helps them stay healthy by diminishing the effect of diseases and disorders—both psychological and physical.

Heart-Mind 2014 shared the most up-to-date science and practice related to how adults can cultivate kindness, empathy, compassion and altruism in children and in themselves - in families and schools, during recreational activities, and throughout the community. Kindness towards people, other living creatures, the environment and themselves.

Together, we explored questions such as:

  • Do we need to teach children to be empathic? Or are they born with an innate ability?
  • Are differences among children's empathy and kindness a result of hereditary factors, or how children are raised?
  • What can we do to cultivate empathy & kindness and reduce bullying?
  • What impact does the use of technology and social media have on empathy and acts of kindness?
  • Can mindfulness promote compassion and empathy? 
  • Is there a connection between exposure to nature and the development of empathy and kindness?

Through inspirational speakers and examples of innovative practices, participants had opportunities to explore the science and practice of cultivating kindness. 

Stay tuned for video recording of selected talks.