Emotional support for kids – Roots of empathy
Ever heard of the “Roots of Empathy” scheme? The project has recently hit the UK and might be something to become better acquainted with.
The Roots of Empathy programme is a scheme designed to help teach children how to understand others. With the aim of counteracting problems children may have at home and difficulties explaining how they feel, mums take their babies into and children are encouraged to discuss how the baby might be feeling and observe the bond between mum and baby.
The Roots of Empathy project attempts to give the school children the vocabulary and the environment to discuss feelings and emotions.
The initiative was founded in Canada in 1996 by Mary Gordon, an internationally recognised educator, social entrepreneur, author and child advocate, and today has reached more than 325,000 children worldwide.
UK charity Action for Children is responsible for introducing Mary Gordon’s scheme to the UK, which has recently launched in primary schools in Lanarkshire, Scotland. Action for Children has recruited local parents and their babies to visit the eight schools in North Lanarkshire that are taking part in the project. They will take part in nine classroom visits, each lasting 30 minutes, over the course of the next 12 months. The programme will be led by Action for Children staff trained in the Roots of Empathy methods. They will introduce the sessions and pay follow up visits to classes in a total of 27 sessions.
The scheme sounds really promising and it would be brilliant if it did reduce aggression and bullying among young people in the classroom, as suggested by Scotland’s Community Safety Minister Fergus Ewing who has been impressed with results. But as a mum I am not sure whether I would be comfortable with taking my baby into a class of primary school children to be observed, even if it is in aid of helping them to improve their social skills and paving the way for better behaviour.
What do other mums think?
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