ROE is a program offered in School District #47 classrooms. This evidence-based program has shown dramatic effect in reducing levels of aggression among children while raising social and emotional competence and increasing empathy. The program is designed for preschoolers through Grade 8. In School District #47, in the 2008/09 school year ROE was offered in all kindergarten, and was piloted in one grade 7 class.
At the heart of the program is a neighborhood infant and parent, who visit the classroom once a month during the school year. Trained Roots of Empathy Instructors, in 27 classroom visits (pre-baby visit, baby visit and post-baby visit), coach children to observe the baby's behaviours. They learn the names for the emotions the baby exhibits; they learn to recognize the needs of the baby, and how to meet those needs. The children learn to reflect and identify similar feelings in their own experiences. Self knowledge serves as a bridge to understanding and respecting the feeling of others (empathy). As levels of empathy rise, bullying, aggression and violence decreases. The learning that occurs- whether it is students' learning about parenting, about themselves, or about how others feel- all springboard from these visits with the baby.