Roots of Empathy launched in New Brunswick in 2002-2003.
Curriculum & Impact
In New Brunswick we provide programs in French and English. And we reach Indigenous children in several communities, including the Elsipogtog, Esgenoôpetitj, Eel Ground and Metepenagiag First Nations and Rexton Elementary, Meduxnekeag Consolidated and Andover Elementary schools which have children attending from Indian Island, Buctouche, Elsipogtog, Woodstock and Tobique.
Every year we ask teachers, students and our Roots of Empathy Instructors for their feedback on the program. Here is a sample of what we’ve heard from teachers who hosted the program in their classrooms.
- 91% of teachers strongly agreed or agreed that as a result of Roots of Empathy, students are more inclusive or accepting of others who are different from themselves (including culture, race, special needs, gender, etc.).
- 87% of students reported learning that being a parent and caring for a baby is a lot of hard work
Recently (November 2023), Founder/President Mary Gordon was asked to give the keynote address at Hope Restored/ L’espoir renaît: NB Trauma Conference 2023. Mary spoke of Collective Trauma, Collective Hope where she highlighted the cumulative effect of trauma and how empathy provides us with hope for the future. Read more here.
We’re grateful for the support of regional agencies which provide in-kind support by training volunteer Instructors and/or funding for training and materials to support Roots of Empathy.
New Brunswick Children’s Art
Grade 3 Student, Quispamsis, New Brunswick
What can Roots of Empathy teach the world? “to be a kind and happy place.”
Speech bubble: “are you ok?” “ow”
“This 8-year old student from Quispamsis demonstrates inclusion and diversity in his drawing. During the program he would have learned to recognize the feelings that other classmates might be having and to respond empathically. Children develop a sense of agency which connects them to one another and helps them get through this challenging time.” – Founder/President Mary Gordon
Grade 3 Student, Quispamsis, New Brunswick
What can Roots of Empathy teach the world? “To bring people together!”
“In the course of the Roots of Empathy lessons children have many opportunities to discuss how they would like the world to be and to realize that they can play a role in the outcome. In schools it is equally important that we help children learn to relate as it is to help them learn to read. Children’s mental health and wellbeing are enhanced when they feel connected and supported at school.” – Founder/President Mary Gordon
Grade 3/4 Student, Miramichi, New Brunswick
I hope our Roots of Empathy Baby “Owen has lot’s of [people] that care [about] her.”
“The ethic of care is alive and well in the Roots of Empathy classroom. Children come to understand that perspective taking (cognitive empathy) is really important in trying to resolve conflict. They also come to understand that emotional literacy (affective empathy) is required to connect to others and to show that you care. Students are astute observers of who actually cares and will tell you in their art.” – Founder/President Mary Gordon
Grade 2 Student, Vermilion, Alberta
What can Roots of Empathy teach the world? “It can teach the people how to be nice.”
Speech Bubble: “You got to stop”; “you stop”; “stop it”; “stop”; “yes”; ”no”.
“It is in childhood that children realize how to navigate relationships. Family violence doesn’t happen overnight. When children develop an understanding of how their actions affect the feelings of others, they have an opportunity to decide how to live their lives. We have stories from Canada and other countries of children explaining that they don’t want to do what their dad does, which is to hurt their mom and frighten the kids. Empathy allows children to not only understand how others feel, but to feel with them and this is transformational and lasts over time.” – Founder/President Mary Gordon
What New Brunswick teachers and students say
“Roots of Empathy can teach the world to care for each other, recognize other peoples’ feelings and to not be afraid to tell people about your feelings.”Grade 6 StudentAllardville
“Roots of Empathy can teach the world about being considerate to each other.”Grade 2 Student
“What can Roots of Empathy teach the world? 'That there is kindness somewhere in everybody.'”Grade 4/5 StudentGarden Creek School, Fredericton
“...Ceprogramme t’aide a comprendre que tu dois respecter tout culture et ne pas intimider. Ça t’aide a mieux ressentir tes propre sentiment (...This program helps you understand that you should respect all culture and don’t bully. It helps you to better feel your own emotions.)”Grade 5 StudentÉcole Arc-En-Ciel, Oromocto
“It is a wonderful program that shows students how to be self-directed learners.It teaches students there are many ways to communicate our wants, needs and desires.”Grade 3 TeacherWest Riverview Elementary School, Riverview
“Juste du positif!!! Très bon programme... les élèves découvrent l'empathie, accepte plus les autres, les différences, sont capables de parler de leur émotions, etc.”Grade 2 professeureCentre Scolaire Communautaire La Fontaine, Neguac
“Roots of Empathy is a wonderful program that teaches children to think outside of themselves.So often today kids have a sense of entitlement. These layers are stripped off when our baby is here. They absolutely delight in her and want her to be content. They listen so well and observe so much as a result of this program.”Grade 3 TeacherSeaside Park Elementary School, Saint John