Thanks to Baby Teachers
12/07/2015The Southern Health and Social Care Trust has paid tribute to eighteen “baby teachers” and their parents who took part in its Roots of Empathy programme. Funded by the Public Health Agency, Roots of Empathy aims to promote social skills and emotional development amongst primary school children.
During the 27 week classroom based programme specially trained instructor guides the children to observe, share and celebrate the development of the baby who is aged between 2 – 4 months at the start of the programme. The programme promotes social and emotional understanding as the pupils learn that everyone is different, how the brain develops and how the phenomena of new connections is directly related to feeling secure and loved. “Love grows brains” Mary Gordon Founder and President of Roots of Empathy. The school children observe the amazing relationship between the baby and parent and learn to understand that feelings are natural and how they are communicated. This process supports the development of empathy as they reflect on their own feelings and those of others.
A first time parent who participated in the programme with her daughter expressed how she had enjoyed and benefited from the programme. She explained: “Roots of Empathy has been brilliant in the way it highlights how special each stage of my daughter’s development is and we are delighted that we participated in this programme. We enjoyed coming to the classroom and my daughter still remembers the nursery rhymes. The heart felt wishes and paintings are a reminder of this positive experience.”
Eighteen schools took part in this programme in 2013 and an additional 7 schools will commence the programme this year. New Instructors are being trained and “Baby Teachers” are currently being recruited for the 25 school programmes.
Paul Morgan, Director of Children and Young People’s Services for the Southern Trust says: “This programme is a great example of how early intervention can help young people to better cope with their emotions and learn how to build positive, healthy relationships in preparation for the challenges they may face in adulthood.”
In the Armagh and Dungannon area the programmes were enjoyed in the following Primary Schools:
Hamiltonsbawn, Fivemiletown, St Macartan’s Clogher, St John’s Middletown, St Patrick’s Armagh, St Patrick’s Dungannon, Our Lady’s & St McMochua’s Derrynoose and Mount St Catherine’s Armagh.
In the Craigavon and Banbridge area the programmes were enjoyed in the following Primary Schools:
Drumadonnell, Harte Memorial, Presentation Convent Portadown, Bridge Integrated Banbridge who had two programmes available in the school.
In the Newry area the programmes were enjoyed in the following Primary Schools:
St Malachy’s Newry, St Joseph’s Meigh, St Josephs Bessbrook and St Patrick’s Cullyhanna.
For more information on Roots of Empathy in the Southern area contact Maureen McSorley, Senior Health Promotion Officer Tel: 028 3741 2763 or Email:firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.rootsofempathy.org
A selection of photographs taken in the participating schools.