Roots of Empathy
Roots of Empathy is an evidence-based program that has shown dramatic effect in reducing levels of aggression among school children while raising social and emotional competence and increasing empathy.
Founded in 1996
Roots of Empathy is an evidence-based, award-winning program, created by Mary Gordon, that has shown dramatic effect in reducing levels of aggression among school children while raising social and emotional competence and increasing empathy. The program reaches elementary school children from Kindergarten to Grade 8.
The mission of Roots of Empathy is to build caring, peaceful, and civil societies through the development of empathy in children and adults.
Since 1996, over 1,000,000 children worldwide have participated in this award-winning program.
Baby as Teacher
At the heart of the program are a neighbourhood infant, the “Teacher,” and parent who visit the classroom. Over the school year, a trained Roots of Empathy Instructor guides the children as they observe the relationship between baby and parent. As they learn about the baby’s temperament and emotions, they develop a deeper understanding of themselves and others.
Roots of Empathy in Waterloo and Wellington Regions
YWCA Cambridge has been working with Roots of Empathy since 2007. To date, we have worked with thousands of students, and hundreds of teachers, families, and instructors. Currently, we operate almost 100 programs in the Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and Guelph communities, across four school boards.
For more information about this award winning program, please visit the Roots of Empathy website
Seeds of Empathy
Seeds of Empathy grew out of Roots of Empathy. The program is designed for children in an Early Childhood setting. Seeds of Empathy has been proven to foster social and emotional competence, early literacy skills and positive attitudes in children three to five years of age while providing professional development for their educators.
Currently, YWCA Cambridge facilitates Seeds of Empathy in our Ryerson and St. Elizabeth Child Care Centres. For more information about the program, please contact us.
Ways to get involved...
Are you interested in investing in the social and emotional literacy of children in Waterloo Region? Each spring, we recruit instructors and families for an October start date in the schools. Find out about our volunteer opportunities for families and instructors below.
Parents with babies who will be between 2-4 months old in October will work alongside a trained Roots of Empathy instructor to teach young children about the physical, emotional and social development of your baby. Together, you will visit the classroom once a month between October and June (nine visits in total). Each visit will last approximately 30-40 minutes and during that time the school children will have the opportunity to learn about your child’s development. One parent is required to attend each classroom visit and, where schedule permits, a second parent occasionally joins in. If you or someone you know is expecting a baby in June through early September and are interested in learning more about the program, please contact us.
Roots of Empathy instructors reap the rewards of helping children become more caring and responsible citizens through their work in the classroom. Many of our dedicated instructors come with backgrounds in teaching, health, social work and/or recreation. They are comfortable speaking in front of classrooms and working with children. We welcome all volunteers interested in this role who have the time available. If you have approximately two hours each week for the 27 weeks of the program (mid October – June), this opportunity could be for you. Due to the investment made in training and support during the first year of delivery, we do ask for a two-year commitment from our facilitators.