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Educational Psychology, Foundations and Leadership Studies
Educational Psychology, Foundations and Leadership Studies (EPFLS) » Faculty and Staff » Suzanne Freedman, Ph.D.

Suzanne Freedman, Ph.D.

Professor, Co-chair of the COE Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee
(319) 273-2483

518 Schinder Education Center, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614-0607

Areas of Expertise: 

Psychology of Interpersonal Forgiveness

Forgiveness Education
Moral Development
Incest and sexual abuse
Eating Disorders
Early adolescent development
At-risk adolescents

Courses Taught: 

Dynamics of Human Development
Development of the Middle School Child
Psychology of Interpersonal Forgiveness 

Counseling Interventions in School

Educational Research


Research Interests: 

Forgiveness education with children, adolescents and adults
Conceptions of forgiveness held by the general population
Integrating forgiveness within the school curriculum
Developmental differences in forgiveness

Selected Publications: 


The Impact of Using Children's Literature to Teach 5th Graders about Forgiveness

It's Okay Not to Be Okay: The Importance of Expressing One's Painful Emotions in Everyday Life and When Forgiving


The Courage to Forgive: Educating Elementary School Children About Forgiveness- Suzanne Freedman and Robert Enright

The Courage to Forgive: Educating Elementary School Children About Forgiveness is a Social Emotional Learning (SEL)/Character Education Curriculum Guide for 4th and 5th grade students ages 9-12.


The Courage to Forgive: Educating Elementary School Children About Forgiveness was written for school educators, counselors, and homeschooling parents to use with their 4th and 5th grade students (ages 9-12), as a form of social-emotional learning and/or character education. This curriculum can also be used by religious education leaders and by educators in afterschool programs.

The goal of this curriculum is for students to learn about forgiveness, including what it is and is not, how to forgive, contexts appropriate for forgiveness, and benefits of forgiveness, in order to deal with anger and other negative feelings after experiencing a deep and unfair hurt or conflict with another person. Concepts such as perspective taking, kindness, and the inherent worth of all individuals are also discussed in relation to forgiveness.

Although this curriculum was written specifically with 4th and 5th grade students in mind, it can be used with older (middle school students) or younger students, as activities can be modified as necessary. Adults may also find this curriculum helpful in their understanding and practice of forgiveness. There are 16 lessons included in this specific curriculum that are each approximately 45 minutes in duration.

For more information about this particular curriculum, read the full 15-page introduction to The Courage to Forgive: Educating Elementary School Children About Forgiveness.



Professional Affiliations: 

Association for Moral Education
American Psychological Association


Ph.D., 1993, University of Wisconsin-Madison