A programme teaching children how to understand and deal with their emotions is gaining traction with a record number of Rotorua schools and volunteers getting on board.
Nine new instructors have been trained this week to deliver the international Roots of Empathy programme in Rotorua.
The addition of these new instructors takes the total number of volunteers up to 13, the most Rotorua has had.
Roots of Empathy started in Canada nearly two decades ago and has since spread to more than 10 countries. It is in its sixth year in Rotorua and five schools - Kaharoa School, Malfroy Primary School, Aorangi Primary, Kaitao Middle School and Mamaku School - have taken part.
Five new schools - Horohoro School, Reporoa Primary School, Rotokawa School, Sunset Primary School and Westbrook Primary School are set to get involved this year.
The international programme introduces a mother and her baby into the classroom and instructors help students to observe the baby's development and label its feelings.
Roots of Empathy has been shown to reduce levels of aggression and bullying in schoolchildren by raising "emotional literacy" and increasing empathy.
New instructors Manuela Kung-Purser and Arash Alaeinia said it was a wonderful programme that they were excited to get involved with.
"It teaches an aspect of emotional learning that is not covered in the New Zealand curriculum and I think it's really important all children are exposed to it," Mr Alaeinia said.
"It is not a programme that makes a distinction between children from different social and economic backgrounds - it is a programme that looks at all children equally."
Ms Kung-Purser said the programme was a beneficial tool for educators.
"Many teachers will gain a new knowledge of the way children think and behave as a result of this tool and that will be very helpful. I would definitely recommend other people get involved as it is so rewarding and informative."
Roots of Empathy international office manager of programme support Brenda McCormack said she was pleased to see the "big jump up for support in Rotorua".
"We've had a record number of volunteers and schools involved this year, which shows how much hard work the trust has put in to help the programme grow in Rotorua."