The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge join a Roots of Empathy session at St. John’s Primary School

The Duchess of Cambridge interacts with children at St.John's Primary School Port Glasgow
The Duchess of Cambridge interacts with children at St.John's Primary School Port Glasgow

The Duke and Duchess today visited St John’s Primary School in Port Glasgow where they sat in on a Roots of Empathy session and engaged with co-ordinators and participants of the programme.

Roots of Empathy is an early intervention programme run by Action for Children which has been developed to help children aged 5-13 build empathy. The programme uses a unique approach, with a local parent and baby (or ‘Tiny Teacher’) alongside a trained instructor guiding the children to develop empathy. 

The programme was developed in Canada and operates internationally in countries including New Zealand, the United States, Norway, Switzerland and Costa Rica. It has been operating in Scotland since 2010. 

During their visit to the school, Their Royal Highnesses were able to accompany a Roots of Empathy session which involved pupils interacting with a mother and her young baby as they learnt how to build their understanding of the baby’s needs and emotions. The Duke and Duchess also spoke with slightly older students who have completed the programme to hear their reflections and experiences and understand how the sessions have benefitted them. 

The Roots of Empathy programme is aligned to much of The Duchess’ long-term work on early childhood, which highlights how good social and emotional development at a young age supports us to thrive as individuals, with one another, as a community and as a society. Learning to empathise from a young age is essential because it’s only by seeing our world through someone else’s eyes, that we begin to understand it.