Information session held May 30th at Parent Child Centre.
Roots of Empathy is an unique program that allows Grade 4 students at Bonnyville schools grow their emphatic natures by watching a baby grow throughout the year. Early Childhood Specialist, Leeanne Doonanco, explains the program has been running in a number of schools for a few years and has seen great success; however it is now in need of instructors to keep the program going.
Kids connect with the baby in the classroom through play and discovery. Each Grade 4 class is “assigned” a baby in September. The parent stays with the baby during classroom time and the kids are giving rules in regards to when and how they can touch or handle the baby. Ideally, a baby would be three to four months old in September to participate in the program.
“The focus of Roots of Empathy in the long term is to build capacity of the next generation for responsible citizenship and responsive parenting,” explains Doonanco, who adds that there are short term benefits to the program, “Roots of Empathy focuses on raising levels of empathy, resulting in more respectful and caring relationships and reduced levels of bullying and aggression. Part of our success is the universal nature of the program; all students are positively engaged instead of targeting bullies or aggressive children.”
The program is available at two local schools, with plans to expand, should enough volunteer instructors become available. Instructors are trained and do not need any formal training going into the program. If you are interested, contact Doonanco at 780-826-2120 or attend the information session on May 30th at 3:45 pm at the Parent Child Centre in Bonnyville.