Rio Smith along with his mom, Erica Sieber has frequented the school once a month since September to be a part of the Program, The Roots of Empathy. Murray Smith, Rio?s dad came once to be a part of the program as well.

Mrs. Hamilton and her grade 3/4 classroom were engaged in topics such as human growth and development, neuro-science, temperament traits and attachment throughout this year. Madame Ferguson received training last spring in order to become a Roots of Empathy instructor and this class was lucky enough to be a part of this program.

Once a month a family visit occurred during which the parent and child came to the classroom. Before and after each family visit a lesson was conducted on the monthly theme. While the visitors were in the classroom, Madame Ferguson used the vulnerability of the baby and its dependency on its parent to engage students in conversations about the importance of how the mother reacted to the baby?s needs. During the pre and post lessons, the students predicted why babies cry, how much they will grow and what they need to grow. The class considered the parents? emotional reactions to the baby?s needs and discussed how these reactions help grow the baby?s brain. They have learned how synapses grow in a brain why it is important to touch, soothe and sing to a baby in order to grow their brain. Throughout the year, the students also celebrated the baby?s milestone from lifting up his head to being able to eat Cheerios. The students cheered when Rio first rolled over!

In teaching empathy to students, and thus learning to understand another person?s perspective, this training can influence how a person reacts in various circumstances. This valuable program is designed to help students express emotions in a positive manner and be more proactive in their dealings with others.

Next year?s new teacher was just born to Keith and Cristal Bertrand. Kayda will be joining another class in the Fall to help facilitate this program.