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Baby on board!

Lori Penner

Seven-month-old Kelcey Fehr has been the centre of attention for one Grade 5 class at West Park School.

The tiny tot has been paying regular visits to the class with her mom Lin for the past four months, as part of the Roots of Empathy program. The award-winning program is intended to develop empathy in children and adults.

Essentially, students follow the development of an infant over the school year, getting a chance to interact with the baby and ask questions. Geared to develop emotional literacy, the program prepares students for responsible citizenship and responsive parenting. Little Kelcey is one of three babies visiting Grade 5 students at the school this year.

Instructor Nicole Bergen says it's the second year the program has been at West Park and the students just love it. "The kids learn about things like safety, sleep patterns, temperament and can literally watch this child changing," she says. "It's also a way for them to connect with themselves."

More schools across the division are utilizing the program. Mom Lin Fehr says Kelcey loves being around the kids. On her March 14 visit, the students watched her toddle around the classroom with the help of her mom's hands, and also show off her rolling skills. They also asked questions about what Kelcey eats and learned how to keep the baby safe. They also discovered that little ones, like their older counterparts, get a little cranky when they need a nap.



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