BABIES have become teachers to older children in Hartlepool.

More than 200 primary school pupils from the town gathered at the Borough Hall on the Headland to say ‘thank you’ to their seven tiny teachers at an event organised by charity Action for Children.

The innovative 'baby teaching' project, titled Roots of Empathy, was organised by the charity and is designed to teach children how to nurture a baby and infant.

As part of the Roots of Empathy curriculum, a baby and parent visit the class nine times throughout the school year. A trained instructor guides pupils in labelling the baby's emotions, raising levels of empathy amongst classmates and resulting in a reduction in levels of aggression among school children.

At the event pupils involved in the scheme made wishes for the babies and hanged them on a special tree.

Wishes included: “My wish for Norah is that she has lots of friends at school and all the best things you can get in life.” Another said: “I wish you good luck when you join school, so you can find out about the world and get what you want”.

John Egan, Action for Children’s operational director of children’s services, said: “Roots of Empathy helps schoolchildren to better understand their own feelings and the feelings of others. We have delivered the programme to seven schools across Hartlepool, and we simply could not have done it without our tiny Teachers - and their parents."