McGuinty Government Supports Program That Promotes Respect and Empathy in Ontario Schools

    Roots Of Empathy Recognized For Contributions To Education in Ontario

    TORONTO, June 13 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is supporting Roots of
Empathy's efforts to increase student empathy and build character in the
province's students, Education Minister Kathleen Wynne announced today.
    "We are proud to support Roots of Empathy," said Wynne at an event
celebrating the Roots of Empathy program. "This program really brings
character development into the classroom, teaching young students about values
like empathy, respect and inclusion."
    The province is providing $700,000 to Roots of Empathy, a classroom
program that brings a neighbourhood parent and infant into the classroom every
three weeks over the school year. Students are coached to observe the baby's
development, celebrate milestones, interact with the baby and learn about an
infant's needs and unique temperament.
    "The Roots of Empathy program has a wonderful impact in the classroom -
not only teaching students about a baby's physical and emotional growth, but
increasing empathy among students and lowering levels of aggression and
bullying," said Mary Gordon, Founder and President of Roots of Empathy. "This
funding will help support the ongoing delivery of this unique program."
    This is just one more example of how, working together, Ontarians are
helping every student achieve better results. Other examples include:

    -   A Character Development Initiative that supports academic achievement
        by developing well-rounded citizens who will help build a strong,
        caring and compassionate society. All school boards will have
        character development programs in place for the 2007-08 school year.
    -   Establishing a three-year, $3 million partnership with Kids Help
        Phone to provide phone and on-line anonymous counselling to Ontario
        students who are dealing with bullying issues.
    -   Providing $1.2 million for bullying-prevention training for
        approximately 7,500 principals and vice-principals, and $4.5 million
        for bullying-prevention training for up to 25,000 teachers.

    "Through programs such as Roots of Empathy, we are continuing to work with
our partners in education to create safer and healthier school environments
that foster respect and help our young people become caring and educated
citizens," said Wynne. "We are committed to reaching every student and helping
them reach their full potential."

    Disponible en français


For further information:

For further information: Michelle Despault, Minister's Office, (416)
212-3747; Patricia MacNeil, Communications Branch, (416) 325-2676; Public
Inquiries: (416) 325-2929, or 1-800-387-5514, TTY: 1-800-263-2892

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