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Roots of Empathy began in Ontario with a pilot in Toronto in 1996.

Ontario became the first province to embrace Roots of Empathy programs for elementary school children and where we co-piloted the Seeds of Empathy program for children 3-5 years old in childcare centres.

Ontario is home to our international office as well as our Centre of Excellence school – a research laboratory where we test and pilot innovative practices. Visitors and media come from around the world to see excellence in action in Ontario schools.  A recent example is BBC World Hacks video which has had 24 million views worldwide, showcasing an Ontario Grade 4 classroom.


We deliver more programs and train more Instructors in Ontario than anywhere else, with strong support from 58 Ontario school boards – 76% of all boards in Ontario.

Consider these compelling statistics that underscore the connection between Roots of Empathy and positive mental health and wellbeing:

  • 85% of students: Reported that their Roots of Empathy baby helped them to understand that they have the right to be loved.
  • 92% of teachers: Agreed or strongly agreed that the Roots of Empathy program supported students’ mental health and wellbeing.
  • 93% of students: Reported that Roots of Empathy helped them to learn that everybody has feelings.

(Latest Ontario APE stats updated January 2024)

Ontario Children’s Art 

To learn more about our Ontario programming, contact: 


Allison Wesley