The youngest teachers in B.C.

Roots of Empathy

Photo: Roots of Empathy Program
A student learns from a ‘Tiny Teacher’ in the Roots of Empathy Program

Information adapted from Roots of Empathy Program
by Nancy Carson
Level 3

Roots of Empathy (ROE)  is a school program.
It educates the mind and the heart.
The program is for children from Kindergarten to Grade Eight.
ROE is about “emotional literacy”.  It teaches important life skills.

Read the PDF. Try the exercise.

Children learn to understand their own feelings.
They learn to know the feelings of others.
This skill is called “empathy”.  Empathy makes people more responsible.
Empathy can also lead to more loving relationships
between parents and children.

About the program
City and country schools have had the program.
It is offered in English and French.
Schools in First Nations communities have also approved it.
Another part of this program is called Seeds of Empathy.
It is for children three to five years old.

Teachers in the program
The age of its teachers makes ROE different.
A baby and its parent visit the classroom every three weeks for a year.
The children watch the baby grow and change.  They learn to name
the baby’s feelings.  In this way, the baby becomes
the “teacher” for the program.
The students also talk about their own feelings.

What the program teaches
Classrooms become safe for everyone.
Classrooms become more caring places. Students learn
to accept differences in others.  This leads to less bullying.
And the students learn how to handle things that are not fair.

ROE in other school subjects
Other skills are used in the ROE program.
Children use math to check the baby’s weight.
They read stories to understand the feelings of others.
Through art, students can also show their feelings.
Studying Music also shows how people feel all over the world.

A study about ROE
U.B.C. is studying Roots of Empathy programs in different grades.
About 90,000 B.C. children have been in the program.
And for 11 years, 3,600 babies have been
the youngest teachers in these classrooms.