Loss of funding for empathy programme
The Ministry of Social Development has scrapped funding for an empathy programme that has been proven to reduce aggression in school children. Roots of Empathy started in New Zealand in 2006, and so far more than 11 thousand school children have been through the programme. The Roots of Empathy programmes involves a local parent and infant visiting the classroom every 3 weeks over the school year - the children observe the baby's development and identify how it is feeling. The idea behind it is that by recognising and caring about a baby's emotions - children can learn about relating to others and understanding their feelings. The programme has been delivered in schools in Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Nelson and Christchurch for the past 8 years. Mary Gordon is the Roots of Empathy founder. It is run by Barnados with funding from the ministry.