Roots of Empathy (ROE) is an award-winning evidence-based classroom program offered by the Futures Program in Thompson and in Marymound School in Winnipeg. It has shown to have a dramatic effect in reducing levels of aggression among school children by raising social/emotional awareness and increasing empathy.
How the program works
A neighbourhood parent brings her/his infant to visit the classroom every three weeks throughout the school year. The ROE Instructor coaches students to observe the baby’s development and to label the baby’s feelings. In this experiential learning, the baby is the “teacher” who the instructor uses to help children identify and reflect on their own feelings and the feelings of others. This “emotional literacy” taught in the program lays the foundation for more safe and caring classrooms.
Students become more competent in understanding their own feelings and the feelings of others (empathy) and are therefore less likely to physically, psychologically and emotionally hurt each other through bullying and other cruelties. In the ROE program, children learn how to challenge cruelty and injustice. Messages of social inclusion and activities that are consensus building contribute to a culture of caring that change the tone of the classroom.