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7 Songs for Empathy Day

This year, Empathy Day is on Thursday 6th June. This is a nationwide event aimed at encouraging children, young people, and families to develop and use their empathy skills to make a positive difference in the world. By participating in Empathy Day, students and the broader school community will:

  • Gain a deeper understanding of empathy and enhance key empathy skills: Such as seeing things from others' perspectives, listening with empathy, expressing and sharing emotions, and engaging in social action.

  • Experience empathy through enriching interactions: Engage with books, authors, and illustrators.

  • Be motivated to effect change: Put empathy into practice to drive positive change.

Research indicates that empathy can be developed and cultivated over time, even if it doesn't come instinctively. Books, for example, are a powerful means to foster empathy—when young readers connect with characters in stories, they learn to see the world from different viewpoints. Music also holds a unique ability to inspire empathy and foster connections with others. Engaging with music that possesses reflective, considerate, and soothing qualities may enhance empathy and promote introspective thought. Music can enhance social cohesion, as communal singing and rhythmic sharing united people together.

Lyrics can now spread to millions. We have the ability to listen and watch music from a diverse range of cultures with a diverse range of stories and messages to help promote understanding and empathy. So, this June, we've put together 7 songs we think could form the soundtrack to your day in the classroom!

1.) "Brave" by Sara Bareilles

"Brave" inspires children to speak up and be true to themselves. It’s a powerful song for teaching empathy as it encourages students to support each other in being courageous. Encourage students to share times when they were brave and supported others?

2.) "Glory" by Common and John Legend

The song captures the struggle for racial equality and justice, celebrating the progress made and acknowledging the ongoing fight against discrimination. The lyrics reference historical events and figures from the civil rights movement, emphasising themes of perseverance, solidarity and hope. Ask children what they know about this part of history and how they think the empathy of others helped during this time.

3.) "Count on Me" by Bruno Mars

With its catchy melody and heartfelt lyrics, "Count on Me" is perfect for teaching children about reliability and trust. It reinforces the idea that being there for others is an essential part of friendship. You could have the class create a "Friendship Contract" with promises that they will keep for each other.

4.) "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus

This song is about perseverance and overcoming obstacles. It helps children understand that everyone faces challenges and encourages empathy for those who are struggling. You could watch the video and share 'mountains' that people have overcome or might have to overcome, and how we don't always know the 'mountains' others might be climbing. Create a classroom "mountain" from post-its where students can add their achievements and milestones.

5.) "Imagine" by John Lennon

This iconic song invites listeners to envision a world of peace and unity. It's a great way to get children thinking about how they can contribute to a more empathetic and peaceful world. Have students close their eyes and imagine a world of peace, then draw or write about it. Discuss how small acts of kindness can contribute to a larger culture of empathy and peace.

6.) "Human" by Rag 'n' Bone Man

The chorus, which repeats the phrase "I'm only human after all," underscores the idea that everyone makes mistakes and has limitations. The lyrics emphasise the importance of recognising that no one is perfect and that expecting perfection from others can lead to unfair judgment and misunderstanding. The music video strengthens the message of empathy by showing a diverse array of faces, each with their own story. This visual representation encourages viewers to see and appreciate the individuality and humanity in everyone, promoting a deeper emotional connection. This could lead to a great discussion about having empathy with people who have made mistakes and how we deal with blame/forgiveness.

7.) "This is Me" from The Greatest Showman

There is probably no better song in recent times about defiantly standing up for your individual uniqueness than this. Whilst challenging stereotypes, it also acknowledges the pain and hardship some people have to go through, but that we all should have self-worth and pride in who we are. A great song for Empathy Day! Watch this inspiring rehearsal and just see how much the words and music mean to the performers!

There we have it! Our top 7 songs for Empathy Day. There are so many more, so feel free to add songs to the comments or share our blog post to help others make the most of Empathy Day this year.

Empathy Day Live! FREE online festival – streaming throughout Thursday 6th June at

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