Ms. Rabiah, Instructional Coach at Maury, gives us a peek into this year’s Roots of Empathy Program.
“Is Baby Benji coming today?” “When is Baby Alex coming next?” These are two questions I’ll be hearing nonstop now that Roots of Empathy has begun. Our fourth grade students look forward to the day that our Roots of Empathy babies visit each month. I’m so excited to have this program up and running for the fourth year.
What is Roots of Empathy?
For the past four years, Maury has used a program in our fourth grade classes called Roots of Empathy to promote empathy in our students. The basic idea behind Roots of Empathy is that people have an innate ability to feel empathetic to a baby, but not necessarily to each other. Over the course of a year, the students observe a baby’s development across the year and make connections between the ways we take care of a baby and how we can take care of each other. The students also receive lessons within a social-emotional curriculum that align with the baby visits.
How does Roots of Empathy work?
Each month, the students have a pre-baby visit lesson, a baby visit, and a post-baby visit lesson. During the pre baby-visit lesson, the students learn about a baby-related theme, like crying, emotions, and sleep, that will drive the observations and conversations during the baby visit. Next, the baby comes to visit the classroom with a parent. The students observe how the baby plays with toys, reacts to us singing, and notices developmental changes that have occurred. During the post-lesson, the students reflect on the baby visit and make both subtle and direct connections to their every day lives.
Who are our babies?
This year, we are fortunate to have Baby Benji and Baby Alex join our Roots of Empathy baby team. Baby Benji is a sibling of Maury students and Baby Alex is a neighbor of a Maury family. Both boys are under four months old, a prerequisite for the program in order for students to observe the baby before, during and after key milestones in their development. In the past, we have had multiple Maury families and staff members participate in Roots of Empathy with their own children.