Real babies are to be brought to classrooms in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, to act as “tiny teachers” and help reduce bullying in schools.
Five primary schools in the area will take part in the Action for Children Roots of Empathy programme. This scheme aims to cut bullying and other problem behaviours in schools by teaching children to be more nurturing and have a better understanding of the feelings of others.
As part of the programme, parents will come into the classroom with their babies to allow the pupils to observe and learn from the affectionate interaction between the parent and child.
Five babies, from West Dunbartonshire, have been recruited to take part in the programme. Throughout next year, the tiny teachers will visit nine classroom visits with their parents.
“Roots of Empathy teaches school children to understand their own feelings and the feelings of others by using a baby as a the ‘tiny teacher’,” said Louise Warde Hunter, strategic director of children’s services at Action for Children.
“This raises levels of empathy amongst classmates, resulting in more respectful relationships and a dramatic reduction in levels of aggression among school children,” Louise added.