Babies to teach empathy to schoolchildren

Mums and babies visit schools in Scotland to teach pupils how to understand others

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Mums are taking their babies into Scottish schools in a new scheme designed to help teach children how to understand others. The children are encouraged to discuss how the baby might be feeling and observe the bond between mum and baby.

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The “Roots of Empathy” scheme has been brought to the UK by charity Action for Children. Supervisors of the classes help children discuss how the baby is feeling and talk about different emotions. The scheme aims to counteract problems children may have at home and difficulties explaining how they feel, by giving them the vocabulary and the environment to discuss feelings and emotions.

Through the baby, pupils learn to “put names on her feelings” and “develop a whole new vocabulary for talking about how we feel,” explained Mary Gordon, who founded the scheme.

Scotland’s Community Safety Minister Fergus Ewing has been impressed by the results. “It reduces aggression and bullying among young people in the classroom, helping them to improve their social skills and paving the way for better behaviour,” he explained.

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But how many brave mums will want to take their baby into a class of young children?

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