Roots of empathy: evaluation of the Roots of Empathy Programme by North Lanarkshire Psychological Service

Document type
Corporate author(s)
North Lanarkshire. Psychological Service
Action for Children
Date of publication
1 January 2013
Mental health services, Education and Skills
Social welfare
Material type

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An independent evaluation of the classroom based, social and emotional programme, Roots of Empathy, commissioned by Action for Children and carried out by North Lanarkshire Psychological Service. The evaluation found that Roots of Empathy raises levels of empathy amongst pupils, resulting in more respectful relationships and a reduction in problem behaviour in the classroom.

Founded in Canada in 1996, Roots of Empathy (ROE) is a classroom based, social and emotional programme. It aims to promote emotional competence and development of empathy in primary school children. The programme is delivered by a trained ROE instructor and consists of nine themes which are delivered across the school year. The baby is central to the delivery of the ROE programme and is considered the ‘teacher’. The instructor guides the class to observe and raise awareness of the baby’s development, the relationship with their parent and subsequent attachment. In order to ensure all areas of the ROE curriculum are covered instructors are required to deliver certain aims within each lesson, which vary in content and quantity. The fidelity of the programme is essential to ROE to ensure that all children receive the maximum benefit from the programme.

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