Egg Painting Compassion Project

Cultivating Mindfulness, Empathy, and Compassion
in Our Schools
Through Storytelling, Art, and Poetry


With your help, we would like to bring THE EGG PAINTING COMPASSION PROJECT to nine fourth grade classes in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District this 2018-2019 school year.

The goal of this campaign is to raise $5,000 to cover insurance,  supplies, and a portion of the cost of this program. If we exceed this goal, it will lighten the burden of fundraising by the schools, their PTOs, parents, teachers, friends, and local patrons who have so generously supported this project for thirty years.

THE EGG PAINTING COMPASSION PROJECT is a holistic exploration into the world of fragility, strength, and caring. It utilizes many Common Core Standards and addresses standards outlined in the Visual & Performing Arts Framework for California Public Education.

During this ten-day program, students use empty eggshells as canvases for personal stories, write about their creations, and participate in professional-style poetry readings in front of engaged audiences. The work is intricate. It requires attention, commitment, resilience, and a great deal of care.


The Egg Painting Compassion Project was designed with third and fourth graders in mind, although it has been adapted for children and adults of all ages. It consists of ten gentle lessons that help students focus, find their center, paint their own stories on eggshell canvases, and write poems with messages that can only be found in the body of their completed work, messages that might help the rest of us navigate our world.


Nurturing and kindness are keys to the success of this project. If students feel intimidated, they may pull back and no longer be open to learning or sharing. When they feel safe, are heard, and sense that they matter, they are more able to relate to themselves and each other with compassion, discernment, and care. This enables them to be okay with complex feelings, to respond with confidence, and to extend that same care to classmates. To foster this kind of ethical sensitivity in the classroom requires skill building. The Egg Painting Compassion Project provides opportunities to develop these skills.


Much has been written about rigor in the classroom. It is often associated with making tasks more difficult or instituting rigid rules. We see it as creating a supportive atmosphere where students look forward to class because what they are learning is relevant to their lives. This kind of rigor inspires students to create high quality work because they want to. The Egg Painting Compassion Project integrates behavioral science, storytelling, and the visual and performing arts with the cultivation of mindfulness and compassion to celebrate each student as a whole and vibrant person.


 Cathee vanRossem-St.Clair, a miniaturist who has earned national and international recognition for her paintings on eggshells, created THE EGG PAINTING COMPASSION PROJECT in 1987.  In the past thirty years, she has shared this program with two generations of children and has inspired 10,000 hearts and minds. To learn more about Cathee and her work, visit: 



Thank you so very much for helping us keep this program alive. If you'd like to learn more about The Egg Painting Compassion Project and to see more of the students' inspiring work, please visit .


All the egg paintings and poems in this document were created by elementary school children who have participated in this program. In order to honor their privacy, we've removed names from their projects.

Donations (0)

  • Esther & 
    • $100 
    • 10 mos
  • Susan Mattenberger 
    • $100 
    • 12 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 12 mos
  • Meri McEneny 
    • $100 
    • 12 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 12 mos


Cathee vanRossem-St.Clair 
Truckee, CA
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