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We asked our instructors why they were interested in becoming volunteers for the Program. This is what they shared.
“I am a Mom with 2 kids, age 11 and 14.
When I heard about Roots of Empathy a few months ago, I thought the idea of bringing a baby into the classroom as a way to connect with kids was both simple and brilliant. I could only imagine that making the connection with a baby, and its vulnerability and loveability, was a great way to make parallels with all children and people about the need to treat each other with respect and dignity. If you would never hurt a baby with words or actions, why then would you do that to another child or person? Everyone is different, and it is an ongoing challenge even for adults to accept each other as they are!
I would hope that the children would carry these ideas through to other parts of their lives, in a way that becomes second nature. It may be a bit early yet to see the benefits; however, I do see a growing connection to baby Ira and genuine curiosity about him.”
“I’m a former teacher and now writer but I miss being in the classroom and thought this program was a really nice way to foster empathy in kids and also for me personally to be around the smiling faces of kids (and babies!) again. It has been a total joy to see how well the kids respond to being around a baby and how much they have to share with us about their inner feelings, things they might not talk about normally in the classroom. The kids are so thrilled every minute baby Ryder is around and seem to be forming a true connection with him. They are especially intrigued to see how much he has grown (along with being able to do more stuff) each time they see him.
One of our themes was about crying. After talking about all the reasons babies might cry, we talked about crying in general and that everyone cries, not just babies, and reasons why we might cry. Something that came out of it was the idea of hurt feelings. Students took turns talking about ways they’ve had their feelings hurt and we talked about what we should do if we see someone with hurt feelings. Ms. Badger and I were blown away by some of the stories the kids shared.”