PK Activity 4 – Mutual Empowerment with Reflective Listening


There is something very supportive about the Speak Up song. Its calm and comforting melody reminds children that they have a voice Best of all, the song tells children that when they do speak up— in whatever form it comes out—they will be listened to.

An important part of developing a sense of identity in a group is the feeling of being listened too. This activity introduces children to “reflective listening.” This is a key social and emotional skill that children will use throughout their lives. In reflective listening, children are asked to remember and share what they heard someone say. This is incredibly validating for children. You can model this in circle time by repeating what you heard a child say and ask if you are correct. Let’s try it with Uncle Jim’s song! Through reflective listening and your supportive discussions, children will begin to believe that they can share what they see and ask for what they need.


Children use the power of reflective listening, speaking up, and mutual empowerment to share stories and communicate as a group while playing a game.

Principle Overview

What does the word “power” mean to you? Some people associate the word “power” with control or authority and even destruction. It is essential when discussing the word “power” that it is seen in the IM4U context as the ability to affect positive change in the world! Exploring the “ripple effect” analogy of WE ALL ARE VALUABLE, students can see there is power in understanding that their abilities, interests, and personality can create positive change. Because we all have an effect on each other, WE ALL HAVE POWER.


Goals and Objectives:

  • Share an idea in a group.
  • Practice taking turns.
  • Experience working together, using shared power to impact an experience in a positive way.
  • Use the term “shared empowerment” in place of “mutual empowerment” depending on the needs of your class.
  • Apply reflective listening to show-and-tell. It will keep children more focused on the child than the object!
Being aware of a certain situation or experience and then being able to give language to it and speak it out loud is a powerful life skill. Teaching students to speak up for themselves begins with helping them be independent and competent in their communication. They will then be better equipped to master life’s skills and handle life’s challenges when they use their power of speaking up.

  • Remind students to use either the following steps or the ones created together from the Speaking Up skill builder.
    1. Use a person’s name.
    2. Look him or her in the eyes.
    3. Use nice words with a big voice.
  • Reflective listening is an essential skill to be used in conjunction with speaking up.
  • Remember, IM4U resources as designed to be used flexibly. In order to connect or integrate ideas, you might wish to review or preview the I Heard You Say skill builder in Unit 1, which also focuses on listening.
Skill Builder
Use these visual resources to enhance the student experience in this unit.

View In Resources

Activity Steps

  • Connector.

    Invite children to listen to the recording of the Speak Up song. Encourage children to activate their listening superpowers to hear something that may not have heard before when listening to the song previously.

  • Connector.

    Ask children to share something they heard when they listened carefully to Uncle Jim. This is a good way to start a talk about the importance of listening and being listened to. Ask:

    How does it feel when someone doesn’t listen to you?
    How does it feel to have someone listen to you?

  • Connector.

    Teach children how to use a technique called “reflective listening” by demonstrating it first. Invite a child to tell you about what they did last night or what they want to do this weekend. Keep it simple at first.

  • Connector.

    As the child speaks, model good listening skills, such as making eye contact and keeping hands in your lap.

  • Connector.

    When he is finished, tell the group what you heard him say. For example: Jonah was telling us that his cat had kittens last night. Who can remember something else that Jonah said? Encourage children to share what they remember from listening to Jonah.

  • Connector.

    When we talk about WE ALL HAVE POWER we are saying that we can all work together. That is a “shared power.” We can work together to use the power of speaking up and listening. Write the words “Speaking Up” and “Listening” on the board and draw simple, happy faces to represent the group listening and speaking together. You might ask:

    How does it feel when the whole group listens?
    What happens when we don’t listen?

  • Connector.

    Invite the children to play the “Were You Listening?” game, where they will practice speaking and listening together in group circle time.

    Were You Listening? Game Directions:
    – Invite a child to raise her hand if she would like to say something about these suggested topics:
    – My favorite drink is…. because….
    – Let me tell you about my pet (or the pet I wish I had)…
    – One day I was playing outside and….
    – My favorite book is….
    – Remind children to put their best listening ears on and carefully listen to the child who is speaking.
    – Invite children to share what they recall. Remember to check back with the speaker to see if the children’s recollections are correct. This validates both the speaker and the listeners.

  • Connector.

    At the end of the activity, ask children to share how they felt about themselves when they were listened to (self-awareness). They can also share how it felt when they were successful at listening (self-esteem).

  • Connector.

    Once children have learned the process of reflective listening, you can keep it as a circle time technique to use throughout the year. It may take time at first for children to learn it but it will become a natural part of our classroom community.

  • Connector.

    As children get more comfortable with the process, you can encourage children to speak up about their feelings or issues.

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