Roots Of Empathy

Roots of Empathy is an evidence-based classroom program that has shown significant effect in reducing levels of aggression among schoolchildren by raising social/emotional competence and increasing empathy. The program targets children from Kindergarten to Grade 8.

  • Roots of Empathy is an evidence-based, classroom program that has shown significant effect in reducing levels of aggression among school children while raising social and emotional competence and increasing empathy. At the heart of the program are a community parent and baby who visit the classroom nine times over the course of a school year.…  MORE >

    about
    Roots of Empathy is an evidence-based, classroom program that has shown significant effect in reducing levels of aggression among school children while raising social and emotional competence and increasing empathy. At the heart of the program are a community parent and baby who visit the classroom nine times over the course of a school year. A trained instructor coaches the students to observe the baby’s development and label the baby’s feelings.

    In this experiential learning, the baby is the “Teacher,” and a catalyst to help children identify and reflect on their own feelings and the feelings of other—empathy. The instructor also visits the classroom before and after each Family Visit to reinforce teachings, for a total of 27 Roots of Empathy Classes. Roots of Empathy is based in Canada and delivers the program all over the world in over ten countries including the US, where the program is offered in only 5 cities, including Albuquerque.

    In 2014, Southwest Family Guidance Center, partnered with Roots of Empathy to bring the program into our schools. Roots of Empathy is currently provided in several schools in APS and Rio Rancho in dozens of classrooms. The program starts in September each year and runs until May. Roots of Empathy is always seeking both volunteer instructors (who will be trained and visit a local classroom 27 times over the year, donating about 100 hours of their time per school year) and family volunteers (a family that has welcomed a baby in May, June, or July and will visit a local classroom just 9 times over the school year). If you or someone you know might be interested in volunteering as an instructor or family, please contact the Roots of Empathy Coordinator, Courtney Custer at (505 ) 301 3036 or ccuster.swfgc@gmail.com.

    We invite you to watch the videos for a more in depth look at this revolutionary program.

     

  • At the heart of the program are a neighborhood infant and parent who visit the classroom every three weeks over the school year. A trained Roots of Empathy 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” which the instructor leverages to…  MORE >

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    At the heart of the program are a neighborhood infant and parent who visit the classroom every three weeks over the school year. A trained Roots of Empathy 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” which the instructor leverages to help children identify and reflect on their own feelings and the feelings of others. This “emotional literacy” taught in the program lays the foundation for more safe and caring classrooms, where children are the “Changers.” They are more competent in understanding their own feelings and the feelings of others (empathy) and are therefore less likely to physically, psychologically and emotionally hurt each other through bullying and other cruelties.

    In the Roots of Empathy program children learn how to challenge cruelty and injustice. Messages of social inclusion and activities that are consensus building contribute to a culture of caring that changes the tone of the classroom. The Instructor also visits before and after each family visit to prepare and reinforce teachings using a specialized lesson plan for each visit. Research results from national and international evaluations of Roots of Empathy indicate significant reductions in aggression and increases in pro-social behavior.

    For more information please contact the Roots of Empathy Coordinator, Courtney Custer at (505) 301 3036 or ccuster.swfgc@gmail.com.

  • The cognitive aspect of empathy is perspective taking and the affective aspect is emotion. Roots of Empathy educates both the mind and the heart. Empathy is a key ingredient to responsible citizenship and responsive parenting. Information on infant safety and development helps children to be more aware of issues of infant vulnerability such as Sudden…  MORE >

    empathy
    The cognitive aspect of empathy is perspective taking and the affective aspect is emotion. Roots of Empathy educates both the mind and the heart.

    Empathy is a key ingredient to responsible citizenship and responsive parenting. Information on infant safety and development helps children to be more aware of issues of infant vulnerability such as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), Shaken Baby Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and second hand smoke. Observations of a loving parent-child relationship give children a model of responsible parenting.

    For more information, please contact the Roots of Empathy Coordinator, Courtney Custer at (505 ) 301 3036 or ccuster.swfgc@gmail.com.

  • The curriculum is comprehensive and attuned to the development and interests of the children. The 639-page curriculum is divided into nine themes, with three classroom visits supporting each theme (a pre-family visit, family visit and post-family visit) for a total of 27 visits. Each of the nine themes is further broken down into four age…  MORE >

    curriculum
    The curriculum is comprehensive and attuned to the development and interests of the children. The 639-page curriculum is divided into nine themes, with three classroom visits supporting each theme (a pre-family visit, family visit and post-family visit) for a total of 27 visits. Each of the nine themes is further broken down into four age ranges:

    • Kindergarten
    • Primary (Grades 1-3)
    • Junior (Grades 4-6)
    • Senior (Grades 7-8)

    The ROE curriculum addresses the affective side of education, but the activities have many links to the classroom curriculum. For example, students use math skills when they calculate and chart the baby’s weight and measurements. Literature is used as a way to open the door to feelings and perspective taking. The discussion and reflection that follows builds solidarity and empathy. Art plays a large role as children paint their inner feelings which they cannot say with words. Music stirs powerful feelings. It speaks to everyone regardless of language or culture and builds solidarity.

    SWFGC and Roots of Empathy are actively seeking volunteers and supporters to help with implementing and expanding the Roots of Empathy Program. Here are some ways you can volunteer and support this valuable program:

    Become a Roots of Empathy Classroom
    Become a Roots of Empathy Instructor
    Become a Roots of Empathy Family

  • Are you a teacher? Are you interested in bringing this program to your classroom? We would be happy to speak with you about the opportunity to have a tiny teacher in your class. Contact the Roots of Empathy Coordinator, Courtney Custer at (505 ) 301 3036 or ccuster.swfgc@gmail.com.

    classroom
    Are you a teacher? Are you interested in bringing this program to your classroom? We would be happy to speak with you about the opportunity to have a tiny teacher in your class.

    Contact the Roots of Empathy Coordinator, Courtney Custer at (505 ) 301 3036 or ccuster.swfgc@gmail.com.

  • To deliver the Roots of Empathy program in the school system, Instructors from the community are identified and certified through a Roots of Empathy training program. These Instructors plan and deliver all aspects of the Roots of Empathy lessons in the classroom and work closely with the participating volunteer family. Roots of Empathy Instructors come…  MORE >

    instructor
    To deliver the Roots of Empathy program in the school system, Instructors from the community are identified and certified through a Roots of Empathy training program. These Instructors plan and deliver all aspects of the Roots of Empathy lessons in the classroom and work closely with the participating volunteer family.

    Roots of Empathy Instructors come from diverse professional backgrounds. Many have backgrounds in teaching, health, early childhood education, social work, guidance counseling, speech therapy and recreation. We also have principals, retired school board superintendents, and police officers delivering the program. Having classroom experience is a major asset, as is having knowledge of infant development.

    A Roots of Empathy Instructor must:

    • Be professional in the classroom
    • Be respectful of classroom teachers and all people involved, and of their roles and ways of doing things
    • Respect the culture and routine in the classroom and school
    • Be sensitive to the privacy of the home and family culture
    • Be non-judgmental, empathetic, and comfortable with babies and children
    • Recognize the potential of Roots of Empathy to empower people

    In order to obtain their certification as a Roots of Empathy Instructor, all Instructors receive four days of intensive training from certified trainers and complete a written test. All Instructors have Mentors who guide and coach them in best practice strategies. Ongoing mentoring provided by Roots of Empathy ensures Instructors are qualified, confident and supported.

    If you are interested in volunteering as a Roots of Empathy Instructor please contact the Roots of Empathy Coordinator, Courtney Custer at (505 ) 301 3036 or ccuster.swfgc@gmail.com.

  • The heart of Roots of Empathy is the neighborhood parent and infant who join the Instructor in the classroom for Family Visits. A Roots of Empathy Instructor visits the classroom 27 times over the school year, and for nine of these visits, (about every three weeks), the Roots of Empathy family joins the Instructor in…  MORE >

    family
    The heart of Roots of Empathy is the neighborhood parent and infant who join the Instructor in the classroom for Family Visits. A Roots of Empathy Instructor visits the classroom 27 times over the school year, and for nine of these visits, (about every three weeks), the Roots of Empathy family joins the Instructor in the classroom. Each Family Visit is about 45 minutes long. Just nine visits during a school year can help children learn about infant safety, infant development, and child abuse prevention.

    The Power Of The Family
    The Roots of Empathy family demonstrates the parent-child attachment and attunement relationship and the baby’s development over the year. Families representing diversity by race, language, culture or religion are invited to participate, demonstrating that a loving parent-infant relationship transcends differences and that there is no one right way to be a good parent.

    Principles Of Social Inclusion Are Fundamental To The Roots Of Empathy Program
    We encourage representation of all types of families; single parents are as welcome as dual-parent families. Fathers and/or mothers are equally welcome to participate, since we focus on the parent-child bond. We encourage participation of parents from marginalized populations. Roots of Empathy welcomes babies who have a physical or developmental challenge and we will provide special support to the Instructor.

    The Roots of Empathy Family Experience
    At the start of the year, the Roots of Empathy Instructor visits the family’s home to talk about how the program works and will answer any questions. The Instructor will call before each of the 9 classroom visits to talk about the theme for the next visit and to discuss any questions the students have asked since the last Family Visit.

    The Roots of Empathy classroom is a participatory democracy where all children are encouraged to contribute and ask questions and we will ask the parent(s) to share with the students how it feels to be a parent and to talk about how your baby is growing and learning. Your baby will be loved by every student and be a star in the school and your family will be helping to build caring, peaceful, and civil societies.

    In order for the students to observe as much of the first year of life as possible, we welcome babies born in May, June and July of each year so that our Tiny Teacher will be 2–4 months old when the program begins in September. All participating families receive a gift card to thank them for their participation.

    If you or someone you know has welcomed a baby in May, June, or July and might be interested in volunteering, please be in touch with the Roots of Empathy Coordinator, Courtney Custer at (505 ) 301 3036 or ccuster.swfgc@gmail.com.

  • We invite you to watch the videos below for a more in depth look at this revolutionary program.

    We invite you to watch the videos below for a more in depth look at this revolutionary program.