Sturgeon Public Schools offers two empathy programs specifically geared at early learners. Seeds of Empathy is designed for preschool and Kindergarten aged children, while Roots of Empathy is geared toward Grade 1 students.
Both empathy programs involve bringing a baby (two to four months old at the beginning of the program) with his/her parent to visit the children in the classroom. The baby and parent visit the classroom a number of times over the year.
A trained instructor visits the classroom along with the family to guide the students. Students observe the baby’s development, watch the interactions between parent and baby, label the baby’s feelings and talk about their own feelings and those of others.
The attachment relationship between a baby and parent is an ideal model of empathy. Students learn social and emotional competence and are much more likely to challenge cruelty and injustice.