Local primary school pupils complete Roots of Empathy Programme

Pupils from Acorn Integrated Primary School (Carrickfergus), Anahorish Primary School (Toomebridge), Ballycraigy Primary School (Antrim), Ballytober Primary School (Bushmills), Balnamore Primary School (Ballymoney), Castle Tower School (Ballymena), Cookstown Primary School, Creavery Primary School (Antrim), Gaelscoil na Speiríní (Draperstown), Greystone Primary School (Antrim), Kings Park Primary School (Newtownabbey), Moyle Primary School (Larne), Oakfield Primary School (Carrickfergus), Portstewart Primary School, St. Brigid’s Primary School (Mayogall), St. Comgall’s Primary School (Antrim), St. John Bosco Primary School (Portglenone), St Patrick’s Primary School (Rasharkin), Straidbilly Primary School (Liscolman) and Sunnylands Primary School (Carrickfergus) have taken part in a programme shown to reduce levels of aggression amongst schoolchildren.

The innovative scheme involves bringing an infant and parent into a classroom once a month throughout the school year giving students the opportunity to track the infant’s milestones. They are encouraged to observe the close relationship between the baby and parent. Through the baby, the children learn to identify and reflect on their own feelings as well as the feelings of others. This helps pupils to become more socially and emotionally aware and more likely to challenge cruelty and injustice.

The internationally recognised Roots of Empathy programme was implemented by the Northern Health and Social Care Trust in September 2011. This programme targets primary schools and is co-ordinated and led by the Northern Trust’s Health and Wellbeing Team and is funded by the Public Health Agency (PHA).

Jayne Colville, Child Development Interventions Co-ordinator with the Northern Trust commented,

“The programme is designed to help equip pupils with the skills required to build healthy relationships and carry these skills into adulthood.

Recently, a celebration event was held by the Northern Trust to thank the families involved for sharing the very precious first year of their baby’s development and to acknowledge the incredible contribution they have made to the lives of the students, as well as the schools.

We were also delighted to award one of our Instructors, for five year’s commitment to the Roots of Empathy Programme.

Overall, the celebration event helped to honour how these programmes continue to contribute to more positive parenting and caring communities for all.”

To find out more about Roots of Empathy please contact the Northern Trust’s Health and Wellbeing Team on 028 2563 6600 or visit www.rootsofempathy.org.

26th June 2017

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