Baby Project – Working with Babies to Increase Empathy
This radical way of building empathy is inspired by the work of the ‘Roots of Empathy’ organisation in Canada. Roots of Empathy (ROE) is dedicated to building caring and peaceful societies through the development of empathy in children. It is a parenting education programme for elementary school students (between the ages of 3 to 14 years) based on monthly visits to the classroom by a parent and infant from the school neighbourhood.
Behaviour and Relationships
Autism and Communication
Meeting emotional needs
This radical way of building empathy is inspired by the work of the ‘Roots of Empathy’ organisation in Canada.
As Mary Gordon founder of this way of working describes:
‘By regular visits to the classroom of local mums and their children build an empathic relationship with the baby.Mary Gordon
Roots of Empathy (ROE) is dedicated to building caring and peaceful societies through the development of empathy in children. It is a parenting education program for elementary school students (between the ages of 3 to 14 years) based on monthly visits to the classroom by a parent and infant from the school neighbourhood.
We teach teachers and educators to help children to observe, over the school year, how their baby forms an attachment to his or her parent. Children are encouraged to record how the infants develop. The children learn to spot their babys cues and unique temperament, while celebrating developmental milestones. Children are prepared for responsible and responsive parenting as they increase their knowledge about human development, learning, and infant safety.
The baby project program brings about the development of empathy and emotional literacy:
- As children learn to take the perspective of others they are less likely to hurt through bullying, exclusion, aggression, and violence.
- Children learn how to challenge cruelty and injustice in their own classroom.
- Messages of social inclusion and activities that are consensus-building contribute to a culture of caring that changes the tone of the classroom.
- Involving fathers and men provides rich models of male nurturance
‘13% increase in empathy scores for our year 1s’
‘Years 2s empathy had increased by 35%’
‘Now that I am older I can be happy for other people’ (6 year old)
‘Everyone is special – thats the truth – but when I was small I thought its not fair when someone got a present and I didn’t’ (7 year old)
Dramatic improvements in children taking responsibility for actions and being less defiant over the year of the project.
- Understanding of method and approach to building empathy with babies
- Full understanding of background to this approach
- Practical advice received as to how to set up baby project in classrooms across school
Who Is It For ?
- School leaders
- Project Coordinators
- Social Care
- We will provide theoretical and evidence back ground to impact of this work.
- We will describe existing UK school based work.
- We will inspire staff in attendance to want to actively engage in this work
- There may even be a baby to hold!!
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