Roots of Empathy Baby Celebration - Media Opportunity - June 18, 2009

    TORONTO, June 17 /CNW/ -

    WHAT           A celebration honouring 25 Roots of Empathy Babies, the
                   world's youngest teachers, from across Montreal. For the
                   past 10 months, these infants have taught 600
                   schoolchildren in the English Montreal School Board to be
                   more empathic.
    WHERE          YMCA Westmount
                   4585 Sherbrooke St. W.
                   Westmount, QC H3Z 1E9

    WHEN           Thursday, June 18, 2009
                   at 1:30 PM
                   A photo opportunity of all Roots of Empathy babies will
                   take place at 2:10 PM.

     SPEAKERS      - 10 babies: the "Teachers" of the Roots of Empathy
                     program, and their dedicated parents who volunteer their

                  Backgrounder on Roots of Empathy 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 is an evidence-based classroom program which has shown
dramatic effect in reducing levels of aggression and violence among
schoolchildren while raising social emotional competence and increasing
empathy. The program focuses on raising levels of empathy, resulting in more
respectful and caring relationships and reduced levels of bullying and
    At the heart of the program are a neighbourhood infant and parent who
visit the classroom nine times over the school year. A trained 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" and a lever
that the Instructor uses to help children to identify and reflect on their own
feelings and the feelings of others.

    Our History

    Roots of Empathy began in two Toronto schools in 1996 and became a
charitable not-for-profit organization in 2000. Roots of Empathy 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.
    This year Roots of Empathy has reached 600 children in 25 classrooms
across Montreal.

    Research on the Program

    Several national and international research studies have demonstrated the
effectiveness of the Roots of Empathy program. Research has shown that
children who have Roots of Empathy know more about emotions and feelings, are
kinder to their friends, are less aggressive and bully other children less
compared to those who do not participate in the program.
    Studies at the University of British Columbia, the government of Manitoba
and the University of Western Australia have also shown positive changes in
Roots of Empathy children, including a significant decrease in aggression and
bullying, and an increase in pro-social behaviour among children who
participated in the program compared to children who did not. Studies have
also shown an increase in students' feelings of peer acceptance and classroom
    In a follow-up study, researchers not only found a significant reduction
in aggression and increase in pro-social behaviour in Roots of Empathy
children immediately after the program, but also that improvements were
maintained three years later.

For further information:

For further information: Coralie Desjardins, (514) 466-5426,

Organization Profile

Roots of Empathy

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