This article by Katie Macleod was first published in EVENTS newspaper (available at www.hebevents.com) on 05/03/2020   

What can a baby teach us about empathy? For local school pupils taking part in the Roots of Empathy programme, the answer is everything from empathy to emotional resilience and even responsible citizenship.

Roots of Empathy – which originated in Canada in 1996 – works by taking a volunteer or “teacher” baby and their parent into a primary classroom for nine visits throughout the school year. A trained instructor then leads the sessions, which help pupils learn to label the baby’s emotions and bond with the child through playing, singing, and reading – all with the ultimate goal of making the pupils more empathetic, emotionally literate, and less likely to engage in bullying. 

This article by Katie Macleod was first published in EVENTS newspaper (available at www.hebevents.com) on 05/03/2020   

There’s a big question currently on pupils’ minds at Sgoil Uibhist a Tuath in North Uist: why are the local stickleback fish losing their spines? It’s an investigation that’s seen the school recently receive a grant of £2454.41 from the prestigious Royal Society, the world’s oldest independent scientific academy, for equipment to aid them in their research.

Dr Carl Smith, Reader in Natural History at the University of St Andrews, has spent a decade researching why the stickleback fish population in North Uist are completely losing their distinctive bony armour of spines and plates.

Since October 2019, he’s been the STEM Partner for Sgoil Uibhist a Tuath, with pupils from Primary 1-7 helping him with his research on the island and increasing their own knowledge of natural history and science terminology along the way.

This article by Katie Macleod was first published in EVENTS newspaper (available at www.hebevents.com) on 05/03/2020  

From crofting to kayaking, the pupils at Daliburgh School in South Uist have been making the most of their island environment to supplement their classroom learning experience. “In order to promote resilience and confidence in our pupils, as well as helping them to improve their communication skills and develop their own ability to manage risk, we have focused on using our natural environment to enhance our learning environment,” explains Head Teacher Jane MacIntyre.

For the past two years, the outdoor learning programme has involved a variety of learning sessions both on land and on water. 14 kayaks, two Canadian canoes, camping equipment, and an “outdoor classroom” – as well as all the necessary safety equipment – were purchased using over £10,000 of funds raised from Awards 4 All, part of the National Lottery Fund, and local bodies such as the Community Council and local councillors. “Through various outdoor sessions, our pupils could be seen to gain confidence, and by the end of their kayaking block last year, all the P7s were able to demonstrate how to capsize confidently,” says Jane.

This article by Katie Macleod was first published in EVENTS newspaper (available at www.hebevents.com) on 05/03/2020  

Families gathering around the kitchen table to conduct science experiments might not be what immediately comes to mind when you think of homework, but homework has looked a bit different for pupils at Sgoil Bhaile a’ Mhanaich in Benbecula recently, and it’s all thanks to the school’s family learning programme.

Each year the school issues a Parental Engagement Calendar for parents and carers of pupils, providing an overview of ways in which they can get involved in their children’s learning – and this year’s Primary 4 “Science Bag” homework kits are a result of just that, as they were originally introduced after parental feedback and then trialled at a family workshop.

This article by Katie Macleod was first published in EVENTS newspaper (available at www.hebevents.com) on 05/03/2020  

Dìleab: Air a Chuan (Legacy: On the Ocean) is part of a larger project that emphasizes culture, connection, and community in the Outer Hebrides. But one of the Sgoil Lionacleit performances during the recent Dìleab concert at Celtic Connections in January had more than a community connection – it had a direct family link, too. 

Sixth year pupil Marion MacCorquodale performed the local Uist song Turas san Lochmor, which was written in 1950 by Peter Morrison, the grandfather of local Grimsay musician Padruig Morrison. And at Dìleab, Padruig was also on stage, accompanying Marion’s performance with the piano.