Babies applauded for helping to teach school children empathy

Babies and their parents were invited to a 'ceremony' on Friday at the University of Northampton after the babies finished their final lessons with the school children.  Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.
Babies and their parents were invited to a 'ceremony' on Friday at the University of Northampton after the babies finished their final lessons with the school children. Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

Some babies might have only just learned how to stand but they have already been commended for their efforts in teaching older Northampton children how to be empathetic.

A group of 20 ten-month-old babies, and their volunteer parents were honoured on Friday (June, 15) at the Roots of Empathy Northampton Baby Celebration event, as the programme waved goodbye to the second intake of tots.

Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

Alongside their parents, the little ones have been helping to teach primary school children about how to articulate their feelings, learn to respect one another, include each other, infant development and safety, and the power of a loving bond between parent and child.

Mum to ten-month-old Poppy, Davina Matthews, of Upton, takes her daughter to Upton Meadows Primary School every three weeks. She said: "We have been doing it in her brother, Caleb's, class so they get to see her every day when I take her to school."

At the beginning of the term Poppy was one of the youngest babies and was unfamiliar with her settings. Now, Davina said she crawls up to the children and climbs on them.

"They love her, they gaze at her, they want to know everything about her. If I haven't got her with me they ask: 'where is she?' Even the most boystrous of children are the calmest around her," she added.

Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

The programme has been delivered in 11 primary schools in the borough of Northampton and is supported by the Education Psychology Service, Northamptonshire Police, The University of Northampton and Northamptonshire Educational Psychology Service

Roots of Empathy is an evidence-based classroom programme that reduces levels of aggression among schoolchildren while raising social and emotional competence and increasing empathy.

Roots Of Empathy was started in Canada over 20 years ago and in 2016 it was registered as a UK charity to enable more children across the UK to benefit from the programme.

Alison Gardner of the Northamptonshire Educational Psychology Service said: "The service is to promote social well-being, emotional literacy, to reflect on their feelings and respect feelings of others.

Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

"It's about the magic of the baby really and to help children to find out about baby development and how it affects neuroscience. We see that as being an investment for parents in the future."

If you're an expectant mum, who is due in either July or August, and would like to take part in the programme with your new baby then email Katie on info@rootsofempathy.org

Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.