Founded in 1996, Roots of Empathy is a classroom program that has shown dramatic effects in reducing levels of aggression and violence among schoolchildren while raising social emotional competence and increasing empathy. The program is delivered in English and French in rural, urban, remote and Indigenous communities, on and off reserve, across Canada and in international pilots.
Each classroom receives a monthly visit over a full school year from a parent with a child under the age of one year, along with a trained instructor. The class observes the child’s development and uses the experiences of baby and parent as a stimulus to exploring their own feelings, resulting in greater understanding of the feelings of others.
This project is one of the “Applied Dissemination” projects supported by the Foundation.
ROE has spread rapidly in Canada and internationally. Concerned about growing too quickly, the organization approached the Foundation to request support for a more carefully planned expansion process. The Foundation’s grant is helping ROE to refine its business plan, and is supporting national coordination, communication and training as well as the gradual introduction and implementation of the program in Atlantic Canada and Quebec.
Past grants: 2002 – 2007
|Grant Year||Project||Grant Amount|
|2002||To develop a national expansion plan for an elementary-school program designed to build empathy in children and develop parenting skills for the next generation.||$50,000|
|2003||Applied dissemination of an elementary-school program designed to build empathy in children and develop parenting skills for the next generation.||$730,000|
|2007||Organizational Strengthening and Program Expansion.||$800,000|
Reports & Publications
Gordon, Mary. Roots of Empathy: Changing the World, Child by Child. Thomas Allen Publishers (2005).
- General Funding
- Social and Economic Inclusion