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Using babies to teach children about empathy

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Roots of Empathy is a program that brings babies and parents into classrooms (K to Grade 8) to help students build emotional literacy and increase empathy.

In the Roots of Empathy program, the baby is the “teacher” that sparks students’ learning about feelings in self and others. A parent and baby visit a classroom nine times over the course of a school year, and a trained instructor guides students as they observe the baby-parent relationship. While the program curriculum mainly addresses the affective side of education, there are also connections to math, literature, art and music made within the curriculum.

This evidence-based program has shown significant impact in reducing levels of aggression among children by raising social-emotional competence. The program has reached more than 500,000 children around the world. Furthermore, Roots of Empathy is recognized by the Canadian Best Practices Portal as a “best practice” program.