At the beginning of the September, the principal at my older boys' school called me to ask if the baby and I would be interested in participating the Roots of Empathy program in my oldest boy's classroom. Having never heard of this program before, I asked for some more information and promptly signed us up. Roots of Empathy was founded in 1996 by Canadian educator, Mary Gordon. It is an organization that bring mothers and their babies into contact with school aged children as a way of teaching children empathy, understanding and compassion for others and themselves. It works on the understanding that raising emotionally healthy children results in emotionally stable adults -- that this emotional education will stick with these kids, making the world a better place for everyone one child at a time.
Obi and I will be going into a class of Grade 3 students once every 3 weeks, giving the kids a chance to meet him, learn about how babies communicate and see how he changes from visit to visit. Each visit will focus on a different topic. The first one will be introducing us to the class, the second will be about crying, and so on. At each visit different children will be given the opportunity to help with the baby, encouraging a sense of responsibility.
The idea of the program is that children discussing how babies communicate emotions, wants and needs will be better able to communicate those same things themselves. Talking about how babies express themselves opens the floor to discussions about how they can express themselves, how we all have the same feelings deep down inside, and how we can better acknowledge the feelings of those around us.
I'm very excited to be participating in this program and sharing Obi's growth and development with my son's classmates and friends. I look forward to a wonderful year of us all growing together!