EDMONTON, May 14, 2013 /CNW/ - Can babies, under a year old, help
prevent bullying and aggressive behaviour in Edmonton schools? Yes. The
work of the world's youngest teachers is at the heart of Roots of
Empathy, Canada's most established and researched bullying prevention
program. Since 2003, these 'Tiny Teachers' have been visiting
classrooms throughout Edmonton, helping students to first recognize
emotions in the baby, then in themselves, and finally in others: the
first step to understanding the shared humanity in us all, and the
launching pad for developing empathy.
Thirty babies as well as alumni "Teachers" (some now ten years old!)
joined in today's 10th Anniversary Baby Celebration at Youngstown Elementary School, hosted by
Carrie Doll of CTV News Edmonton. Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel - who
also spoke at the 2011 Manning Innovation Awards where Mary Gordon was
presented the David E. Mitchell Award of Distinction for being the top
social innovator in Canada - joined the celebration, congratulating his
youngest constituents for their unique contributions and thanking their
parents, program Instructors and the educators from the three
participating Edmonton school boards for their partnership and support.
Edmonton MLA Naresh Bhardwaj closed out the one-hour event, bringin
remarks on behalf of the Honourable Premier Redford.
Although unable to participate in person, Roots of Empathy
Founder/President Mary Gordon greeted all at the event through video,
recognizing the collaboration between educators, volunteers, local
government and provincial ministries which has enabled the program to
flourish in Edmonton and beyond -over 85,000 students in Alberta have
received Roots of Empathy since it was first introduced in 2002-03.
"Edmonton was one of the early adopters of Roots of Empathy," notes
Gordon. "The government has been a staunch supporter as have
communities and school boards. This celebration is a clarion call to
stop bullying through gentle means."
More than 7,000 children have experienced the program in the ten years
it has been offered in Edmonton, through both English and French
programs in the Edmonton Public School Board, Edmonton Catholic
Separate School District, and Conseil scolaire Centre-Nord. And well
over 1,000 volunteers from the community have been involved in bringing
the program to Edmonton's youngest students.
But a decade of success in Edmonton is not the only proof that the
program is working. Over a dozen years of research has indicated
consistently impressive results: students who participate in the
program show a decrease in aggressive behaviours - including bullying -
and an increasing in prosocial behaviours, whereas those in control
groups who do not experience the program, usually increase in
aggressive behaviours, and decrease in prosocial behaviours.
After only three years of hosting Roots of Empathy programs, and in part
based on this extensive evidence base, the Scottish government
announced this past March that they will double their investment to
ensure Roots of Empathy is offered to children in every council
authority in the country, making Scotland the first country in the
world to ensure the program is offered in every municipality.
In 2012-13, Roots of Empathy's international reach expanded by over 40%
to three new countries - England, Wales and Germany - and achieved the
significant milestone of having reached over half a million children on
three continents since its start in 1996. The infants, children,
parents, classroom teachers, volunteers and supporters celebrated today
in the gymnasium of Youngstown Elementary can all share in that
success, and be proud of their significant contributions toward
changing the world, child by child.
Mary Gordon was recognized as Canada's top social innovator in 2011 with the
Manning Innovation Awards' David E. Mitchell Award of Distinction. She
was a featured speaker representing 50 of the world's leading social
entrepreneurs at Ireland's ChangeNation in 2012, and most recently was
asked to share her expertise with the United Nations as part of its
2015 Millennium Development Goals for Education.
SOURCE: Roots of Empathy
For further information:
For more information visit our online media kit or contact: