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Roots of Empathy

Roots of Empathy (ROE) is an evidence-based, classroom programme that raises social and emotional competence through increasing empathy and reducing levels of aggression among participating school children.

The programme centres on a baby visiting the classroom with his/her parent throughout a school year. The class follow the baby’s milestones and development over the year during which a trained instructor coaches pupils to observe the connected relationship between the baby and their parent. The pupils learn and understand empathy from this process as they reflect on their own feelings and those of others. This ‘emotional literacy’ lays the foundations for more safe and caring classrooms as it enables pupils to become more socially and emotionally aware and therefore then more likely to challenge cruelty and injustice.

This programme is funded by the Public Health Agency (PHA) as part of their commitment to give every child “the best start in life” and is co-ordinated and let by the Western Trust’s Health Improvement Equality and Involvement Department in partnership with the Education Authority.

For the academic year 2022/2023 there will be 25 primary schools delivering the Roots of Empathy Programme across the Western Trust affording hundreds of pupils an opportunity to develop emotional literacy, empathy and to reflect and understand their own feelings and the feelings of those around them.