Wednesday, February 18, 2015

CRY BABY: School Program Promotes Infant's Response Over Mature Ones



'Roots of Empathy' program teaching some APS students about being kind to one another

Updated: 02/17/2015 9:06 PM | Created: 02/17/2015 8:44 PM
By: Nikki Ibarra, KOB Eyewitness News 4
A few times a year, a fourth-grade class at Chamiza Elementary school gets a little visitor. 7-month-old Adalynn is teaching them how to be understanding and kind.
Mary Gordon is a former teacher who developed the program, called "Roots of Empathy," in Canada.
"The idea is that the children are coached to observe the baby's feelings and intentions," Gordon said.
Students applauded Adalynn's recent accomplishment – learning how to stand. Gordon says the program is helping the students learn about themselves.
"They're learning to understand who they are and how they feel, and to read the emotions of their classmates," Gordon said.
Some students say they feel the program helps with bullying; some say they notice their classmates are much nicer to each other.
"It helps me be a better friend," said fourth-grader Jasmine Baca.
Research shows students who participate in the program are kinder and more cooperative in the classroom.
"They're better able to vocalize their own feelings and recognize when they're feeling upset, and fell safe to talk about those feelings," said teacher Jane Nowell.
So far, six APS schools have implemented the program, and there's plans to teach much more about empathy next school year. The program is already looking for parent and baby volunteers.


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