Objective: This study aimed to explore whether and how infants showed their empathy in everyday lives at a childcare center.
Methods: The participants of this research were 10 infants (23~31 months) attending a one-year-old classroom in a childcare center located in Seoul, and the data were collected primarily thorough participant observations.
Results: The infants showed four categories of empathy in their everyday lives. The first one was related to the safety of their peers; it was presented when the infants found out that their peers were sick, in trouble, and having a hard timeseparating from their parents, or when they found possible risks to their peers. The second one was related to the achievement of their peers; it was presented when the infants noticed their peers trying hard to continue their play. The third one was related to the infants’ pleasure; it was presented when they felt shared interests and joy with their peers. The fourth one was related to the infants’ self-reflection; it was presented when the infants found out that what they had been doing made their peers upset.
Conclusion/Implications: These results demonstrate infants’ ability to empathize with others and also imply the need to support their development of empathy continuously.