Launch of Roots of Empathy Programme

15/11/2010

A novel classroom approach to reducing bullying and aggression in school children was officially launched this week at Belfast City Hall.

The Roots of Empathy programme, which is underway in 28 schools across the South Eastern and Belfast Health Trust areas, enlists the help of babies and their parents to teach children about caring for others.

A novel classroom approach to reducing bullying and aggression in school children was officially launched this week at Belfast City Hall.

The Roots of Empathy programme, which is underway in 28 schools across the South Eastern and Belfast Health Trust areas, enlists the help of babies and their parents to teach children about caring for others. At the heart of the programme is a local baby and parent who visit the classroom every three weeks over the school year. A trained instructor coaches the pupils to observe the baby’s development and help them better understand their own feelings.

Speaking at the Launch Chief Executive of the Belfast Trust, Colm Donaghy said ‘The Roots of Empathy programme is an excellent example of health promotion and prevention and partnership working’.

Founded in Canada by Mary Gordon, it is supported on the island of Ireland by PEACE III funding from the Special EU Programmes Body as part of its work to develop cross border co-operation – and is currently underway in Donegal. Other key supports in Northern Ireland include Belfast City Council, the Public Health Agency, Belfast and South Eastern Education and Library Boards, the PSNI, Barnardos, Queens University and the Colin Neighbourhood Partnership.

Pictured R-L
Mary Gordon, Founder of Roots of Empathy and Dr Leslie Boydell, Associate Medical Director, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust pictured with one of the babies participating in the Roots of Empathy Programme.