Wednesday 22 June 2016

Students and staff at Greenfields Primary School

Sixty school children from Greenfields Primary School, Kettering, in years five and six, explored their empathy skills alongside University of Northampton students yesterday (21 June). University of Northampton student changemakers encouraged the children to think about others, by reading the story of ‘Norman the Caterpillar’, a self-published book by local social enterprise, Johnny’s Happy Place.

The book tells the tale of Norman, a very regular looking sort of caterpillar, who travels everywhere backwards. The other animals living near Norman just don’t seem to understand him, but his friend Cynthia sees the beauty in him where others don’t. Using the book as a teaching resource, students the University explored empathy, acceptance, an understanding of others and why a celebrating person as an individual is important.

Riddhi Joshi, a third year Sociology student said: “I liked the idea of reading to children, I think it’s important for children to understand how their behaviour can impact on the people around them, accepting people for who they are is an important part of being a Changemaker – leaving people with a positive feeling.”

Abi Wick’s, Social Enterprise Engagement Lead at the University of Northampton’s  Centre for Employability and Engagement said: “When we put ourselves in another person’s shoes, we are often more sensitive to what that person is experiencing and are less likely to act in a way which would negatively impact them. Working with Northamptonshire schools, like Greenfields Primary School, University students are teaching pupils to be more conscious of other people’s feelings, these Changemaking activities can begin to create a more accepting and respectful school community, which will ripple out to the children’s home lives and the other communities they are a member of.

Globally recognised by Ashoka U for our focus on creating a positive social impact, the University of Northampton was the first UK University to be awarded Changemaker Status. The University of Northampton has a number of Changemaker + Challenges, which commits the Institution to supporting the betterment of local and regional and international communities; something the programme of schools engagement activities supports.


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