Roots of Empathy in Donegal celebrated their ‘tiny teachers’ at their annual Baby Celebration in Letterkenny this week.
The event was organised to thank all those who participated in the programme and who made this year’s programmes such a success.
Over 100 people attended the baby celebration which brought together everyone who participated in the programmes, including staff and children from the schools and the Roots of Empathy families.
Anne McAteer, Health Promotion Department, HSE West, and Roots of Empathy Programme Manager, said; “Roots of Empathy is a unique and innovative programme which brings a local baby into a class in a primary school.
“Nine times throughout the year, the parent and baby visit the class, where a trained Roots of Empathy instructor guides children as they observe the relationship between the baby and parent, chart the baby’s development and label the baby’s feelings.
“The instructor visits the classroom before and after each baby visit to reflect on the learning from the baby visit and help the children to relate the learning to their own lives. They work with the children through story telling, art and discussions to help the children identify and think about their own feelings and experiences and those of others.”
Anne continued; “The programme, which is delivered over 27 weeks, teaches children more about their own emotions and feelings and those of others. When children learn to understand how other people feel, and how their actions can make other people feel, this will help to reduce bullying and aggression among the children.
“Last year, we introduced the programme into 14 schools. The positive feedback from those schools and demand from other schools led to the expansion of the programme into 28 classrooms across the County. We hope to continue the success of the programme next year by increasing the number of schools in which the programme is delivered.”
Speaking after the event Anne said; “The Baby Celebration has brought together everyone who has participated in the programme, school principals and class teachers and some of the pupils from each class.
“It was an opportunity to say thank you to all those families who volunteered their time to come into the class and share the special moments of their baby’s first year. It was fantastic today to see so many of our Roots of Empathy families come together with the schools to celebrate such a successful year.”
For further information on the Roots of Empathy programme, contact Seana Hume, Project Coordinator, on 074 91 09118 or email email@example.com