Babies on their way to primary school

Roots to Empathy project to teach school children empathy by watching parent/baby interaction

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Young pupils in classrooms in Cardiff will be learning about respect and emotion by observing how a mum nutures her baby, reports the BBC.

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The scheme, pioneered in Canada, has seen a dramatic reduction in aggression and bullying among children. Led by the charity Action for Children (AfC), the project, called Roots of Empathy, has been running in Scotland for two years with great success. Debra Ennis from the charity said the drop in children’s anti-social behaviour has been “amazing”.

Around 2,000 school children will take part in the scheme in Wales. The project aims to teach children to understand their own and other people’s feelings and about respectful relationships by using a baby as a “tiny teacher”. Reports suggest that children taking part are more likely to help others, share and accept their peers for what they are. 

Ten schools in Cardiff will initially take part, with a local parent visiting each school with their baby nine times during the school year.

Pupils in years 5 and 6 will receive three sessions per month, which include preparation, a visit form the mum and baby, and then a follow-up. The sessions are led by trained AfC staff.

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