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The idea of bringing Roots of Empathy to the school started with Danielle Schami. She is a parent at Wakefield Elementary with children in Grades 6 and 4. You will recognize her at the Wakefield Market as the owner of Franktown House Flowers.
In the Principal's words .....
Julie recollects Danielle approaching her two years ago about the possibility of having Roots of Empathy in Wakefield School.
“It has taken time, dedication and effort but finally with the community’s support, we have been able to introduce the program to the school. Whenever I look at introducing new programs to the school, I always ask myself what will be the impact on our students, staff, parents and the community. I know that the students directly involved already are showing signs of the baby’s visit having a positive impact- one parent mentioned to the teacher that their son is more empathetic towards his baby sister at home. The kids are talking about the babies in class and at home very often.
I also want the other students in the school to know about the baby visits and what is happening. We are doing this by sharing photos and updates at our monthly assemblies, as well as keeping a bulletin board of photos in the school.
I feel like this program will not only contribute to our school climate in a positive way, it will help to shape the future community members and citizens of Wakefield and the world. Having empathy allows us to see the world from another person’s point of view. When we can do this, we can have successful relationships because we can see their needs and intentions. It is this kind of thinking that we need to support in our students so they can navigate their world and create a kind, caring future.”
WEHSA's role ....
WEHSA was approached by Danielle about the Roots of Empathy Program back when it was still PPO (Parent Participation Organization). We were fully supportive then as we are now to bringing the program to the school. As a home and school, we now have the financial autonomy to support initiatives at the school, and we were thrilled to throw our support behind the program when Danielle approached us again. Thank you, Danielle, for not giving up!
In collaboration with the school, WEHSA helped organize the Course for Kindness Walk-a-thon to raise funds to make the Program a reality at the School. The response and generosity from our school families was overwhelming surpassing everyone's expectations as well as our funding goal. Over $9,600 was raised, which more than covered the training of the two volunteer instructors. (Stay tuned for highlights of the Walk-a-thon in an upcoming post.)
We are proud to say that Wakefield Elementary School is among the first schools in Quebec offering the program.