Classroom Resources for Teaching about Forgiveness
Discover picture books that focus on the importance of learning to forgive, asking for forgiveness, avoiding grudges and seeing forgiveness as a positive action.
Teaching about Forgiveness
“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
This quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. highlights the importance of forgiveness and how it benefits our lives and those around us.
Learning to forgive and asking for forgiveness helps children form healthy relationships with family, friends and themselves. It helps them let go of grudges and see forgiveness positively. There are other benefits to forgiveness, including
- Healthier relationships
- Improved mental health
- Reduced anxiety and stress
- Improved self-esteem
Forgiveness is given freely and with courage, it is not a sign of weakness. Teaching about forgiveness through the following resources will give your students the skills to negotiate more complex situations throughout their life.
Help your students see that forgiving helps people move on from hurtful comments and actions, though it doesn’t excuse that behaviour.
Asking for forgiveness is difficult as children don’t want to admit negative behaviour or actions. They need to see forgiveness in action to understand its power, making adult modelling and support important.
Forgiveness Discussion Questions
- What is forgiveness?
Why do we forgive?
- In what way did [character] forgive [character]?
- Why did [character] find it difficult to forgive?
- When [character] forgave [character] were they condoning their behaviour/actions?
- Why was it important that [character] showed forgiveness?
- How did [character] feel after forgiving [character]?
- How did [character] feel when they wanted to be forgiven?
- What are the benefits of forgiving?
Forgiveness Resources Online
Assemblies UK: Forgiveness Assemblies for primary school
Brilliant Star: Forgiveness: A Virtue-Building Lesson Plan
Greater Good Magazine: Why Kids Need to Learn How to Forgive
Kids Peace Station Hiroshima: Stories and information about the atomic bombing in Hiroshima
Northern Ireland Curriculum: Living, Learning Together Lesson Ideas
Psych Central: How to Teach a Child Forgiveness
Psychology Today: Forgiveness: Are you really teaching your kids how to forgive?
Scholastic: Group Time: Building Language Through Conflict Resolution
Scholastic: Ages & Stages: Learning to Resolve Conflicts
Seal Community: Forgiveness downloadable resources
Smart Classroom Management: Why Forgiveness Is A Powerful Classroom Management Strategy
Forgiveness Discussion Videos
These short videos can be used as discussion starters for talking about forgiveness. Watch the video before playing them to your students. Some of them are simple while others are more complex or abstract.
Teaching forgiveness takes time and support. These picture books and resources will help you start meaningful discussions. What are your favourite forgiveness related resources or books?
Remember to check out Picture Books about Forgiveness and Letting Go for a list of forgiveness related picture books.