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Aberdeen pupils say a big ‘thank you’ to tiny teachers (1)
21 June 2012
Primary three pupils from across Aberdeen gathered in the
Community Wing at Manor Park Primary School to say a big 'thank
you' to the area's tiniest teachers at a Baby Celebration held by
Action for Children Scotland and Aberdeen City Council today
[Thursday, 21 June 2012].
The event marked the end of the school year forRoots of Empathy,
an innovative programme that encourages children to interact in a
nurturing manner by bringing a baby - known as a 'tiny teacher' -
and parent into the classroom. The programme was introduced to
seven primary schools across Aberdeen by leading charity, Action
for Children Scotland.
Pupils from Aberdeen thanked babies Josie, Stuart, Oliver,
Lyndon-Jac, Shaun, Callum, Charlie, Kaiden and Harrison by writing
wishes for their futures and hanging them on a special wish tree at
the Baby Celebration.
Paul Carberry, operational director of children's services at
Action for Children Scotland, said: "Classroom visits by the baby
and parent are at the heart ofRoots of Empathy, helping
schoolchildren to better understand their own feelings and the
feelings of others. Today's celebration gives pupils and teachers,
as well as staff from Aberdeen City Council and Action for Children
Scotland, the perfect opportunity to thank all of the tiny teachers
for their hard work over the school year.
"Action for Children Scotland introducedRoots of Empathyto 99
schools across the country this year and we simply could not have
done it without our tiny teachers - and their parents! I would like
to take this opportunity to thank all of the babies, mums and dads
involved for making the first year ofRoots of Empathysuch a huge
Ruth McGoldrick, mother of Callum, added: "Callum and I have
loved being part of Roots of Empathy and meeting pupils from
Heathryburn Primary School. They are all so fond of Callum; it is
wonderful to see how much they have enjoyed the programme and their
wishes for his future. It has been a very rewarding experience that
I would strongly recommend to any new mums!"
As part of theRoots of Empathycurriculum, a baby and parent
visit the class nine times throughout the school year. A
trainedRoots of Empathyinstructor guides pupils in labeling the
baby's emotions, raising levels of empathy amongst classmates and
resulting in a dramatic reduction in levels of aggression among
school children. Independent evaluations of the programme carried
out in Canada - where it originated and has been active for the
longest period of time - revealed a significant increase in peer
acceptance in 74% of children and a decrease in social aggression
in 39% of children.
Roots of Empathy is delivered in Heathryburn, Holy Family,
Muirfield, Westpark, Manor Park, Bramble Brae, and Quarryhill
primary schools in Aberdeen.
Convener of Education, Culture and Sport Councillor Jenny Laing
said: "The Roots of Empathy programme has been a huge success at
seven primary schools across the city. The project's innovative
nature has been warmly welcomed by both staff and pupils, with
interaction with babies in the classroom helping young children
learn the core values of kindness, trust, empathy and respect.
"I would like to thank everyone who has taken part, not least
the tiny teachers and their parents, without them Roots for Empathy
would simply not be possible."
Roots of Empathy was developed by internationally-recognised
social entrepreneur, educator, author, child advocate and parenting
expert, Mary Gordon, in 1996. Over 450,000 children have
taken part in the programme worldwide. The programme was piloted in
North Lanarkshire by Action for Children Scotland in 2010 - the
first time it was delivered anywhere in Britain. In 2011, Action
for Children Scotland rolled outRoots of Empathyin 16 local
authorities across Scotland.