West Lane isn't the only region to receive recognition for its Roots of Empathy program. The Cottage Grove Sentinel recently covered the effort in South Lane. The article points out that students often use their observations about the baby's development to reflect on their own emotions. Scott Hoffman, a second-grade teacher at Harrison Elementary, notes that empathy comes into play because "the baby can’t tell you how he’s feeling, he doesn’t have the language. So, it’s an opportunity for the kids to think how do you tell how a baby might be feeling?” As the article explains:
Spending the year with a baby who started its class visits between two and three months old means second-graders can track the baby’s development and teachers can draw connections between what the students observe and their own experiences. While babies are teething, second-graders are often losing teeth. When the baby is sad, lessons ask the second-graders to think of a time they, too, were sad allowing them to express feelings of exclusion or incidents of bullying.
The visits with the baby are, undersandably, the highlight for the students:
Each baby visit is followed up by a return visit from the 90by30 instructor who walks the class through the lesson, often through drawing or reading a book.
Those lessons, some instructors said, are just as valuable but don’t draw the same excitement as the baby visit.
“When I look back at the pictures of the family visit, every single child’s eyes — there’s never a child who’s looking off or elsewhere. They’re always watching the baby,” said Sarah Loveless the project implementation manager for 90by30.