What is Roots of Empathy?
Established in 1996, Roots of Empathy (ROE) is an award winning, evidence-based classroom program that has shown dramatic effect in reducing levels of aggression among school children while raising social/emotional competence and increasing empathy. At the heart of the program are a neighbourhood infant and parent who visit the classroom nine times over the school year. A trained ROE instructor visits the classroom 27 times over the year, working with the classroom teacher to help the children observe the baby’s development emotionally, physically and mentally. Students are guided in identifying the baby’s feelings and invited to reflect on their own feelings and the feelings of others. The emotional literacy taught in the program lays the foundation for more caring classrooms where children begin to sense the importance of understanding other people’s perspectives.
Current Roots of Empathy Programming on the Sunshine Coast
In 2019 RCCS oversaw the delivery of eight programs in seven elementary schools, impacting over 200 students from kindergarten to grade 6. In response to the pandemic, Roots of Empathy programming ROE has been scaled back to include a Recovery Model program delivered in a Madeira Park classroom in 2020/2021 and one Recovery Model Program at West Sechelt Elementary in the 2021-2022 school year. Full program offerings will resume across the district as it becomes safe to do so.