Wilson Hornung commands the unbroken attention of two dozen students at Siuslaw Elementary School — no small feat in a classroom full of first-graders. When he speaks, the children cheer. When he sits upright, the children ooh and aww. When he flops over on his belly, the children clap.
He’s also just six months old.
Wilson is one of four infants who, once a month, have a star role in Siuslaw Elementary School classrooms under the newly-instated Roots of Empathy program, a series of curricula aimed at enhancing children’s empathic and social intelligence.
“Talking to my other teacher friends about it, they’re intrigued,” said teacher Heather Costa, who hosts the Roots of Empathy class for Wilson’s visits. “And I’m excited for the kids to see a positive parent-child relationship.”