Feb 23, 2024
Allyson Watson
Roots of Empathy

The Roots of Empathy Organization is committed to promoting children’s mental health and well-being in London by offering our Roots of Empathy (ROE) program to elementary school children.   ROE has had extremely positive results with research conducted on three continents, confirming that the program reduces aggression and bullying while supporting children’s pro-social behaviour (caring, helping, including and kindness) and raising levels of empathy.  The outcomes of decreasing bullying and aggression and increasing pro-social behaviours have been documented and researched extensively.  Roots of Empathy doesn’t just come to a school it comes to a community.  A volunteer parent and infant are the heart of the program.  The ROE program is delivered to elementary school children who are coached to recognize and connect with the vulnerability and humanity of a baby who visits their classroom throughout the school year with their parent(s), along with a trained ROE Instructor using a specialized curriculum.  Through activities in this Family Visit the students are given opportunities to discuss their feelings and listen to the feelings of others. The Instructor also visits the classroom the week before and the week after the Family Visit to deliver activities in preparation for and in reflection on the activities of the Family Visit. These pre- and Post Family Visits deepen the development of emotional literacy (affective empathy) and perspective-taking skills (cognitive empathy) in children, helping them to understand how their behaviour or words can hurt others. This enables children to build connections and healthy relationships which leads to inclusion and integration.