Roots of Empathy

Categories:

Categories associated with best practice:

  • Individual
  • wtt_ico
  • Children (ages 6-12) icon
  • Young Adult (ages 19-24) icon
  • Adult (ages 25-64) icon
  • Seniors (ages 65+) icon
  • Canada
  • Culture
  • Education and literacy
  • Elementary School Icon 1
  • English
  • Healthy child development
  • Maternal and Infant Health
  • Mental Health Icon 2
  • Personal health practices and coping skills
  • Preventing Violence Icon 1
  • Social Relationships That Respect Diversity

Determinants of Health: Language and culture, Education, literacy and life-long learning, Social relationships (including those that respect diversity), Healthy child development, Social inclusion

Overview

Roots of Empathy is a school-based program for children that aims to promote mental health and prevent violence. At the heart of the program are an 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. This widely endorsed parenting program is implemented in provincial schools and early childhood settings that have diverse populations in Canada. Measures focus on resources and activities of children’s participation levels impacting subsequent benefits to selves, classmates, school, families and communities. Basic human understanding, caring, kindness, are fostered congruently with Indigenous culture igniting baby and child relationship building.

Primary Source Document

Johnston Research Inc. , Considerations of an Aboriginal Approach to Roots of Empathy and Seeds of Empathy Final Report Johnston Research Inc.

Contact information of developer(s) and/or implementer(s)

Roots of Empathy
250 Ferrand Drive, Suite 1501
Toronto, ON
Canada, M3C 3G8

Tel: (416) 944-3001 Fax: (416) 944-9295
Toll-free: 866-766-8763
mail@rootsofempathy.org

Intervention Focus

Intervention Goal / ObjectiveLevel(s) TargetedEquity Focus
Building on Community Strengths and Needs: Cultural aspects of Roots of Empathy support a wholistic, worldview/circles, total person/ balance, family/ community/ relationships, babies and Elders as teachers, and the potential for healing cultural wounds from historical traumas.
  • Community level
  • Individual level
  • Interpersonal level
People living in conditions of disadvantage are explicitly stated to be a target population of the intervention.
Wholistic: Roots of Empathy is based on six strands of human connection: neuroscience, temperament, attachment, emotional literacy, authentic communication, and social inclusion woven throughout the programs. The circle is the symbol of the traditional wholistic worldview representing boundaries and safety. In Aboriginal settings, when staff asks the children to gather around the blanket, they refer to the gathering as a circle and in this setting the children are close together, as well as all being connected by sight.
  • Individual level
  • Interpersonal level
People living in conditions of disadvantage are explicitly stated to be a target population of the intervention.
The Roots of Empathy fosters the development of empathy among children in classrooms from kindergarten to grade eight.
  • Individual level
  • Interpersonal level
People living in conditions of disadvantage are explicitly stated to be a target population of the intervention.
Community-based: Assembly of First Nations resolution supports Roots of Empathy General findings from a 2010 evaluation showed that there were no local adjustments made in the First Nation community settings to the curricula itself. Additionally, there was nothing visually different from a cultural perspective for the on-reserve programs as compared to off-reserve non-First Nation public schools, with regard to the use of the Roots of empathy green blanket, Roots of Empathy bag and supplies, Roots of Empathy baby doll, and the books.
  • Community level
  • Societal level
People living in conditions of disadvantage are explicitly stated to be a target population of the intervention.

Health Issue(s) that is/are addressed by the Intervention

Health Promotion

  • Maternal and Infant Health
  • Mental Health

Risk Reduction

  • Prevent injury
  • Prevent violence

Specific Activities of the Intervention

  • Curriculum changes in school
  • Training offered to deliver the intervention
  • Group process/program
  • Other training session
  • People living in conditions of disadvantage were included in decision-making processes.
  • Other

Priority/Target Population for Intervention Delivery

Life Stage

  • Children (age 6-12 years)
  • Young adult (age 19-24 years)
  • Adults (age 25-64 years)
  • Seniors (age 65+ years)

Settings

Educational Settings

    Community Setting

      N/A

      Outcomes

      Outcomes and Impact Chart
      Level of ImpactDescription of OutcomeEquity Focus
      Individual LevelAwareness with regard to own emotions: ability to recall having the emotion; describe the emotion; describe circumstances when self has or might appropriately experience the emotion.Reported outcomes do not distinguish findings specific to people living in conditions of disadvantage.
      Interpersonal LevelRecognition of emotion in others from visual clues – naming the emotion; describe the emotion; describe circumstances (reasons) when another has or might appropriately experience the emotion. Ability to suggest possible strategies for others experiencing emotions, or those in a position to affect them: managing emotions; emotional strategies; social/relational strategies; vs. inappropriate actions/reactions such as aggression.Reported outcomes do not distinguish findings specific to people living in conditions of disadvantage.

      Adaptability

      Implementation History

      • Multiple implementations - Different settings/populations/providers - The intervention showed significant adaptability as it has been implemented in different settings or with different populations or by different provider(s). This can include multiple implementations during the same time period. Each implementation of the intervention must have been substantially the same and must have demonstrated positive results for the primary objectives of the intervention.

      Expertise Required for Implementation within the Context of the Intervention

      • Specialized skills training provided as part of the Intervention - The intervention does not require individuals or groups with highly specialized training, but requires that individuals or groups be trained as part of the implementation of the intervention.

      Are there supports available for implementation

      Yes. http://www.rootsofempathy.org/en.html

      Are there resources and/or products associated with the interventions

      Yes. Roots of Empathy green blanket, Roots of Empathy bag and supplies, Roots of Empathy baby doll, and books