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Look who's talking... 12.09.11

Classrooms set for 'baby teachers'

THE HSE in Inishowen is looking for babies and parents to visit classrooms over the next school term to show children the bond that exists between them.
The special EU-funded programme called 'Roots of Empathy' was successfully piloted last year in 14 schools across the county including the peninsula.
It involves a local baby, aged two to four months, visiting a primary school classroom with their mother or father for 30 minutes, every three weeks for nine months.
The volunteer programme was developed in Canada in 1996 and is designed to "build caring, peaceful, and civil societies" by developing empathy in children and adults.
The programme, where "baby is the teacher", is now being extended to 25 primary schools. A further 10 instructors are being trained to deliver the sessions, which will run from next month until June 2012.
The co-ordinators say the relationship between a baby and a parent is "an ideal model of empathy".
HSE West health promotion officer, Anne McAteer, said 14 parents took part with their babies last year and found it "a rewarding experience".
"Children learn to understand the perspective and emotional life of the baby and are then guided by the instructor to link this learning to their own lives.
Donegal is the first county to run Roots of Empathy programme.
"They gain deeper insight into their own and others’ emotions and into the impact of their behaviour on others," she said.
The HSE West is now asking mums and dads with a baby who will be aged two to four months next month, to volunteer to take part.
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