Very young children seem to have natural compassion. Just watch a toddler react when another baby or toddler near him/her starts to cry. Toddlers will go and offer support to the crying child in the form of offering a toy or sometimes even a hug. There seems to be an innate ability to feel compassion towards others when we are young. Somewhere in the growing up years, children begin to split into two groups. Children in group 1 have the ability to sense that others are in discomfort and to show compassion, and the children in group 2 do not sense that others are upset and even if they do, make no attempt to comfort the other child. Watch your own child when he/she is confronted with a child in discomfort or someone who is different than he/she is. Being different could be: looking different, dressing different, talking different or acting differently. It is natural for children to be curious about what they find to be different from themselves, but it is not natural to make fun of, or hurt the feelings of someone who is different. Kindergarten children are old enough to show compassion towards others and are definitely old enough to be taught that we are all different from one another and that is a wonderful thing. It is so hurtful and shocking to watch young children deliberately being mean to others. As a Kindergarten teacher I always assume that being nice to others is taught at home, but we are seeing more and more evidence that it is not. Please take some time to teach your child about the differences they see in those around him/her and about being nice to others when they are hurt or upset.