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New frontiers for new learning
Roots of Empathy
January 15, 2012Posted by on
The photograph attached here is a doll that will be used with an exciting new initiative our school will be involved with called Roots of Empathy. This program teaches children about feelings, their own feelings, and the feelings of others. Once every three weeks, a three month old baby and his parent will visit the classroom one of our Early Years’ Learning Program classrooms. The baby is the child of one of our parents at our school and we appreciate this family working with us through this program. We are also pleased that one of our Designated Early Childhood Educators (DECE) has been trained this school year as a ROE Instructor. Our DECE will gather the children in the classroom around a green blanket and together they will watch the baby grow.
The class will monitor as the baby reaches the ‘developmental milestones’ of the first year such as rolling over, getting his first tooth, sitting up, crawling. Our Roots of Empathy Instructor will also coach the children in observing the baby and reading the cues the baby gives as to how the baby is feeling: “Is the baby happy or sad?” “How can you tell?” We use this discussion as a lever for the children to talk about their own emotions and to understand how their classmates feel: “Do you smile when you’re happy?” “How can you tell if your friend is happy?” Being able to understand how other people are feeling is called empathy which aligns to our own board’s Character Matters education. Our DECE will also prepare and reinforce teachings using a specialized lesson plan for each visit.
We’re excited that we’ve been chosen to participate in Roots of Empathy, and expect this program to be meaningful for our Kindergarten class, and beyond, in relation to our school improvement plan goals.
Watch for ongoing updates throughout the school year; we also look forward to the children naming the doll pictured here soon!