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by Katie Parry

 

St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School, Liverpool, have been looking for volunteers for an upcoming project, which aims to teach primary students about empathy.

The Roots of Empathy programme was founded in 1996 in Canada, and has since expanded globally.

It launched in England in 2012. This month, it has been spreading to Merseyside.

Now, St Patrick’s are looking to join the number of global schools who have partnered up with the organisation.

Katie Cohen, UK manager at Roots of Empathy, said: “We are pleased to be working with the Youth Endowment Fund to bring the award winning Roots of Empathy programme to Merseyside.

“Over the next three years we will be working with local schools, volunteer instructors and local families to support children with their emotional literacy.

“At the heart of our programme is a local family with a young baby, our ‘Tiny Teachers’.

“They help children gain a deeper understanding of emotions. Research on the programme shows that this raises levels of empathy, as well as kind, caring and sharing behaviours, plus reduces violent behaviour.”

The programme is set to start in November, and will take place over the course of a school year. Year Five students at St Patrick’s will take part.

A baby with one or both parents will visit a classroom every month with a Roots of Empathy instructor.

The instructor will guide pupils as they observe the relationship between the baby and one or both parents. Each visit will last 30 minutes.

A Roots of Empathy instructor will also visit classes before and after each family visit to reinforce teachings.

Overall, there will be nine family visits. Along with the visits from the instructor before and after the sessions, this means there will be 27 classroom visits across the school year from Roots of Empathy.

The aim of the project is to coach children into recognising and connecting with the vulnerability and humanity of a baby.

Children will observe the loving relationship between a parent and infant to give them a model of responsible parenting.

Emotional literacy will develop as children begin to identify and label the baby’s feelings, and reflect on and understand their own feelings.

This will then help children begin to understand other people’s feelings and emotions.

St Patrick’s to take part in new empathy project

At the heart of our programme is a local family with a young baby

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