Roots of Empathy program at LFP to be featured on PBS NewsHour Thursday evening

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Roots of Empathy program at Lake Forest Park Elementary will be featured tonight (March 28) on PBS NewsHour at 6 p.m. on KCTS Channel 9 in Seattle.

In the Roots of Empathy program, a parent and baby from the community visit a classroom nine times over the course of a school year. A trained Roots of Empathy instructor visits with the family to guide children as they observe the relationship between the baby and his or her parent.

The instructor also visits before and after each family visit to reinforce teachings. In the program, the baby is the "teacher." With each family visit, the instructor leads the children in noticing how the baby is growing and changing over the course of his or her first year of life. The children also watch the loving relationship between the parent and baby and see how the parent responds to the baby's emotions and meets the baby's needs. The attachment relationship between a baby and a parent is an ideal model of empathy.

Children learn to understand the perspective of the baby and label the baby's feelings, and then are guided in extending this learning outwards so they have a better understanding of their own feelings and the feelings of others. This emotional literacy lays the foundation for more safe and caring classrooms. Students are more socially and emotionally competent. Roots of Empathy has been in Shoreline classrooms for four years and is extending to most of our elementary schools.


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