Roots of Empathy

Roots of Empathy

June 06, 2012 11:54 ET

100 Babies Celebrated for Their Part in Bullying Prevention

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 6, 2012) -

Editors Note: A photo for this release is available on the CP picture wire via Marketwire.

Can babies, under a year old, help prevent bullying and aggressive behaviour in Toronto schools? Yes. The work of the world's youngest educators is at the heart of Roots of Empathy, Canada's most established and researched bullying prevention program. Since last fall, these 'tiny teachers' have been visiting classrooms throughout Toronto schools, helping students to first recognize emotions in the baby, then in themselves, and finally in others: the first step to understanding the shared humanity in us all, and the launching pad for developing empathy.

Almost 100 babies joined in today's celebration, hosted by Cheryl Jackson of Mary Gordon, Founder/President of Roots of Empathy, was on hand to thank the babies, their parents, Instructors who conduct the programs, and the educators from the Toronto District School Board who make it all possible through their partnership and support. "It is fantastic to see the educators in the host schools really start to notice the tangible changes the program has within the classroom," notes Gordon. "But the real success is when the interactions of these students change the climate of the entire school."

"Empathy lies at the core of what it means to be human," noted Allan Schore, PhD, Clinical Faculty at the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California. Schore gave the keynote address at the recent Research Symposium hosted by Roots of Empathy - another of Gordon's initiatives. Fifteen internationally-renowned researchers from a broad range of disciplines within psychology and neuroscience gathered in Toronto in May, aiming to link the organization's substantial evidence base from over 12 years of research to new directions in brain-based studies.

The new directions for research identified at the symposium will provide more evidence that these tiny teachers distinguish the Roots of Empathy program from others, are elemental to its efficacy, and are what is attracting other countries to commit to the program. September 2012 will see three new countries round out the organization's reach to 10 countries on three continents, and push the total of children influenced by the program to over half a million. In the meantime, 100 almost-one-year-olds here in Toronto have already made a significant contribution to the prevention of bullying, thereby starting to change the world, child by child.

Mary Gordon was recognized as Canada's top social innovator in 2011 with the Manning Innovation Awards' David E. Mitchell Award of Distinction. She was a featured speaker representing 50 of the world's leading social entrepreneurs at Ireland's ChangeNation in March, and a presenter at this year's Skoll World Forum in Oxford - the premier global event for social entrepreneurs founded by fellow member of the Order of Canada Jeff Skoll.

Contact Information

  • For more information visit our online media kit or contact:
    Roots of Empathy
    Lisa Conway
    Manager, Communications
    416-204-7884 or M: 905-505-2094

    Roots of Empathy
    Rebecca Collett
    Communications Assistant
    416-944-3001 ext. 7919 or M: 905-960-7464