If you are having a baby in June, July or August I cannot recommend getting involved with Roots of Empathy enough! Roots of Empathy (lets go with ROE for short) brings together a baby with a school class for an entire year. Since October, H and I have been visiting the same classroom every three weeks (obviously we had some breaks with holidays). Before each visit we get an email about the theme of the visit. There is a facilitator who does an excellent job of prepping the kids and letting me know what is going on! As a teacher I am obviously comfortable in a school setting, but having the facilitator makes it so that anyone could do it! I have been paired up with a grade 1/2 class, which has been an absolute blast! It has been interesting for me to see how engaged the little boys have been. I assumed that most of the little girls would love seeing a baby girl, but the boys have enjoyed it just as much, if not more! I’m talking about the boy, boys… the ones covered in dirt are practically squealing with delight at H’s little pink shoes!
I can’t wait for each ROE visit and always walk away from our class with some adorable stories. The students adore “their” baby and are beyond sweet when she comes to visit. H absolutely lights up the moment we walk into the school… and don’t even get me started with how much she loves seeing all the students! They sing H songs, ask lots of questions but I think their favorite thing is just to watch what H is up to! It was so funny when H finally figured out how to roll both directions and I had forgotten to mention this to the students… well as soon as they saw her roll they all started to applaud… H loved this and the fact that every time she rolled over they were all applauding and oohing and ahhing. ROE is based on a volunteer basis but they do ask you to commit to a certain amount of visits, but if you need to change a visit at the last minute there is no pressure… babies can be unpredictable. It is also nice to know that if your little one is being fussy or just plain cranky… this is actually great for the kids to see that it isn’t all adorable shoes and giggles!
H has a very friendly disposition and is constantly smiling at everyone. My family doesn’t live in Calgary so we don’t see them all the time, but with H’s friendly nature she is always happy to see them and happy to have snuggles from them. Her grandma is so happy she doesn’t get all weird, but just wants more hugs! I think that a huge part of this is due to the fact that she is used to seeing so many new faces at our ROE program.
One last story that just made my heart melt…. I casually had mentioned that H was going to bed at 6:30. At parent teacher conferences a students parents had told the teacher that at 6:30 EVERY single day this student made sure to mention, “the baby is going to sleep now”… I mean how cute is that?!?
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I cannot recommend getting involved enough! So much fun and so rewarding for everyone involved!