Roots of Empathy launched in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2001.
Every year, we’ve had almost 100 Newfoundland and Labrador babies “teaching” in classrooms.
Our programs are offered in both French and English and in Indigenous communities.
Roots of Empathy programs are supported by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador as well as regional agencies and community funders.
Newfoundland and Labrador Children’s Art
Kindergarten/Grade 1 Student, Rushoon, Newfoundland & Labrador (2021)
I helped someone who was feeling “sad.”
“Kindergarten children develop emotional literacy in their Roots of Empathy class when they learn about a baby’s feelings. This gives them the vocabulary to understand their own feelings. There are many activities in the Roots of Empathy program that help children to understand the feelings of their classmates. Emotional literacy helps children to regulate their emotions and it also helps them with altruism. Here a little boy draws an action picture of a child being hurt and because he has empathy, he understands that the child will feel sad and goes to his aid. He is the kind of citizen we need to build a more caring, peaceful and civil society.” – Founder/President Mary Gordon
Grade 1 Student, Gander Bay, Newfoundland & Labrador (2019)
What can Roots of Empathy teach the world? “Roots of Empathy can teach the world to be [kind].”
“Six-year-old Kierran from Gander has drawn a picture where a stranger understood his fear and upset after a car accident. The stranger demonstrated empathy, “Are you ok?”. In order to be kind, we first must have empathy to be able to imagine how the other person feels. Gander is known worldwide for its empathy in the 9/11 empathic response. It is interesting that the day of Kierran’s trauma had a black sky.” – Founder/President Mary Gordon
Kindergarten Student, Twillingate, Newfoundland & Labrador (2021)
I helped someone who was sad, frightened or lonely when “I gave Emily a flower.”
“Children in the Roots of Empathy program develop friendships in the classroom. Friendships that children are able to sustain pave the way for relationship building all their lives. Children are able to make friends because Roots of Empathy supports them in knowing how to connect to others through our shared feelings. This empathic capacity will not only help children in their personal lives but will build a citizenry that has the capacity to be inclusive, to embrace diversity, and to build peace.” – Founder/President Mary Gordon
What Newfoundland & Labrador teachers and students say
“Roots of Empathy can teach that everybody needs love and caring so you should be friends with everyone and speak up for someone if you see them getting hurt.”Grade 5 StudentGlovertown
“This program has been going ahead in my community for 18 years. I truly believe it has had a positive impact on our school and community. The Roots of Empathy classroom is a safe place where students talk about feelings as part of the curriculum.”Grade 8 TeacherSt. James Regional High, Channel Port aux Basques
“Roots of [Empathy] can teach the world do not bully.”Grade 1 StudentWings Point
“Roots of Empathy can teach the world kindness and respect to its elders and newborns, it can also show the world to respect each other and that we shouldn’t fight.”Grade 5 StudentIndian River Academy, Springdale
“I believe experiences like Roots of Empathy is what schools should be providing for their students. Hands on, experiential learning is one of the best way for students to immerse themselves into their own education and connect to learning.”Grade 8 TeacherFrank Roberts Junior High, Conception Bay South
“There were a few students with special needs who became more connected and involved over the year. One boy, at the last family visit, rose to speak to the parents. He told them that he has depression and that having the baby in class had helped him a great deal.”Grade 4 InstructorCowan Heights Elementary, St. John’s