A GROUP of 'tiny teachers' are set to take their place in classrooms across Inverclyde - in a bid to curb levels of bullying and aggression.

Babies will be used to encourage children to interact in a nurturing manner as part of a pioneering new Action for Children programme, called Roots of Empathy.

This will see babies and parents brought into the classroom over the course of a school year to allow pupils to observe attentive, loving interaction.

Experts hope this will give pupils a better understanding of their own feelings and those of others.

Six local baby volunteers and their parents will now take part in nine visits to primary three classes over the next year.

The schools involved are Ardgowan Primary, St Patrick's Primary, St Joseph's Primary and Lady Alice Primary in Greenock as well as St Michael's Primary and St Francis' Primary in Port Glasgow.

Inverclyde Council's convener of education and lifelong learning, Terry Loughran, said: "School is a place where important life skills are learned and that includes the ability to form and sustain relationships.

"What closer relationship can there be than that of a parent and their child, and what better role model for children and young people?" Louise Warde Hunter, the strategic director of children's services at Action for Children, said: "Roots of Empathy teaches school children to understand their own feelings and the feelings of others by using a baby as the 'tiny teacher'.

"This raises levels of empathy amongst classmates, resulting in more respectful relationships and a dramatic reduction in levels of aggression among school children.

"We are proud to introduce Roots of Empathy in Inverclyde.

"Action for Children has a proven track record in developing innovative approaches which help to significantly improve outcomes for vulnerable children, families and young people."