Baby joins fight against bullying

Baby Zoe.
Baby Zoe. Photo: London Tonight

What can a baby teach you about bullying? Not much, you'd think, when they can't crawl or even babble yet. But at Edmund Waller Primary in Lewisham, baby Zoe is taking one class a week to teach children how to treat one another.

The concept is fairly simple. The pupils have 27 sessions during the year - nine of which actually involve meeting four-month-old Zoe. By following her growth and development and learning what makes her happy or sad, they learn how to empathise with her and treat her properly.

The woman who has spread this programme around the world says that the children's empathy towards the baby then begins to extend to the way they treat their peers.

Mary Gordon claims children who have been on the scheme are "markedly less aggressive" and that teachers see "a reduction of fighting in the classroom and the playground and a more supportive environment where children help one another rather than catching one another out."

The programme has already been used in Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as on the Isle of Man, but this is the first time it's been launched in England. So far the children in Lewisham have only met baby Zoe twice, but already they're noticing her changing and developing different needs.

She's a really kind baby and she's quite different from the first time, because the first time she didn't really seem to be playing with her toys that much.

– Eight year-old Yousef

I've learnt to care for babies and not to shake them or hurt them. You should treat your friends the same or they might start to cry as well as baby Zoe

– Archie