Look who's talking...
Classrooms set for
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
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
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
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.