Roots of Empathy

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Sponsor our global research symposiums, where world-renowned scientists share their expertise on social and emotional learning, aggression reduction, self-regulation, mental health, emotional literacy, and empathy. To sponsor research on Roots of Empathy, please contact Research Director Dr. Lisa Bayrami

Why should society be interested in a program that focuses on children's social/emotional competence? The incidence of bullying and aggression experienced by school children is problematic. Beyond the fact that no child should ever be made to feel vulnerable, insecure, threatened or victimized by violence, aggression in the school environment can inhibit learning and create interpersonal problems for children. Moreover, a high level of childhood aggression is problematic in the long term as it is a significant predictor of adult criminal behaviour and other anti-social behaviours (Broidy et al., 2003; Nagin & Tremblay, 1999). It is often overlooked that in 85 per cent of school bullying episodes there are onlookers and bystanders (Pepler & Craig, 1995). These witnesses, our children, are being adversely affected. Unlike other programs that address bullying by targeting the victim or bully, Roots of Empathy works universally with the whole class. The program teaches perspective taking skills that enable all students to gain insight into how others feel and develop a sense of social responsibility for each other. In the ROE classroom, children are empowered to challenge cruelty whether it is in the form of bullying or meanness. Research on Roots of Empathy Since 2000, there have been nine independent evaluations of the effectiveness of Roots of Empathy, as well as two reviews of the program as a whole.