Roots of Empathy - Toronto District School Board Baby Celebration - Media Opportunity - June 17, 2009

    TORONTO, June 16 /CNW/ -

    What          A celebration honouring the TDSB's Roots of Empathy babies,
                  the world's youngest teachers. Since the start of the
                  school year these 111 infants have worked with
                  approximately 3,000 school children in Toronto by
                  "teaching" an innovative classroom program about empathy
                  and social/emotional literacy. A short ceremony on stage
                  will include a photo opportunity of all Roots of Empathy
    Where         St. Lawrence Hall - Great Hall
                  157 King St. East
                  Toronto, ON
    When          1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
                  Wednesday, June 17, 2009
    Participants/ Roots of Empathy Instructors, Teachers, and Families
    Speakers      Mary Gordon, Founder/President, Roots of Empathy
    For More      Penny Dickie                 Stefanie Di Risio
    Information   Roots of Empathy             Roots of Empathy
                  Tel. (416) 849-4690 ext. 25  Tel. (416) 428-4025
    Backgrounder on Roots of Empathy in Ontario follows.

                       Roots of Empathy - Backgrounder

    Our Mission

    Roots of Empathy's mission is to build caring, peaceful and civil
societies through the development of empathy in children and adults.

    Our Program

    Roots of Empathy (ROE) is an evidence-based classroom program which has
shown significant effect in reducing levels of aggression and violence among
schoolchildren while raising social/emotional competence and fostering
empathy. The program focuses on raising levels of empathy, resulting in more
respectful and caring relationships and reduced levels of bullying and
    The heart of the program is a neighbourhood infant and parent who visit
the classroom once a month for the full school year. A certified Instructor
works with a specialized curriculum to coach students in observing baby's
development, celebrating milestones, interacting with baby and learning about
infant needs and temperament.

    Our History

    Roots of Empathy began in two Toronto schools in 1996 and became a
charitable not-for-profit organization in 2000. It is offered across Canada,
in English and French, in rural, urban and remote communities and in
Aboriginal communities. It is also being delivered in New Zealand, the Isle of
Man and the United States.
    Ontario first introduced Roots of Empathy as a pilot in 6 Toronto
District School Board classrooms in 1996. In the 2008-09 school year in
Ontario there are over 19,000 school children participating in the program in
over 765 classrooms. It is also delivered to over 600 Aboriginal children
including 13 programs on-reserve.

    Research on the Program

    Research has shown that children who have the program know more about
emotions and feelings, are kinder to their friends, are less aggressive and
bully other children less than those who do not participate in the program.
    Studies at the University of British Columbia and University of Western
Australia show a significant decrease in aggression and bullying, and an
increase in pro-social behaviours among children who participated in the Roots
of Empathy program compared to children who did not.
    In a 2004-2007 follow-up study, the Government of Manitoba not only found
significant reduction in aggression and other improvements in behaviours in
Roots of Empathy children immediately after the program, but also that
improvements were maintained three years later.

For further information:

For further information: Penny Dickie, Roots of Empathy, Tel.: (416)
849-4690 ext. 25,

Organization Profile

Roots of Empathy

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