Pupils at Northampton's Kings Heath Primary Academy learn empathy

Pupils at Northampton’s Kings Heath Primary Academy, part of the David Ross Education Trust, are taking part in a programme that raises social and emotional competence in partnership with the University of Northampton.

The Roots of Empathy programme focuses on raising levels of empathy amongst young children, resulting in more respectful and caring relationships and reduced levels of bullying and aggression.

As part of the programme, which originates from Canada, pupils observe how a baby develops over the course of a school year. The children see the love and care that the baby receives from the parent, and begin to understand the baby’s feelings and emotions.

Reception pupils at Kings Heath Primary Academy enjoy monthly visits from baby Isabelle and her mother, giving pupils the opportunity to track the infant’s milestones.

Before and after each visit from Isabelle and her mother, pupils are encouraged to discuss their own experiences and share ideas during a positive and respectful discussion. 

Clair Mills, Deputy Headteacher at Kings Heath Primary Academy, said: “Our Reception pupils are always so excited to see baby Isabelle, and she has quickly become a special member of the class.

“Since the start of the programme, we have seen a really positive impact on our pupils’ behavior and ability to show empathy towards others, which will help to equip pupils with the skills required to build healthy relationships throughout their lives.”

Pupils involved in the innovative programme have started to compile a class book of photographs to document baby Isabelle’s development, and they are also putting together a book for Isabelle and her mother to keep at the end of the year.

Clair Mills added: “The Roots of Empathy programme is a wonderful example of how our school community and the extended community can work together to help the next generation of pupils to become caring, empathetic and socially aware individuals.”

Kings Heath Primary Academy currently has Reception places available for September 2018. If you would like to find out more about life at Kings Heath, please contact 01604 751 165 or email Bursar-KHA@kingsheathacademy.co.uk to book a tour.