Roots of Empathy

Roots of Empathy is creating a world in which people help more and hurt less by fostering empathy in children.

Grantee Profile

Roots of Empathy launched in the US in 2007, in the Seattle area of Washington State. The program has grown and is now also offered in Washington D.C., New York, Hawaii, and Oregon.  Since its introduction, Roots of Empathy has reached over 31,000 American children and over 1,200 American families who shared their baby’s first year of life in a Roots of Empathy classroom.

Roots of Empathy harnesses of the power of a secure attachment relationship between infant and parent – the first and most powerful model of empathy. Emotional literacy develops as Roots of Empathy students begin to identify and label the baby’s feelings, reflect on and understand their own feelings, and then the feelings of others.

By demonstrating the baby-parent relationship to children in schools, it is evidence-based to break intergenerational cycles of violence, aggression, and bullying in children. Roots of Empathy has the power to tip a generation of children – to create a world that is kind, resilient and inclusive. It develops a culture where children learn to care for themselves, for one another, for their world, and for their future. The program is universal and engages both girls and boys, however boys benefit uniquely from Roots of Empathy as the program works upstream to break stereotypes on masculinity by showing children that it’s fine for boys to express emotion. The emotional literacy gives boys the skills to manage and regulate emotions, which makes them less like likely to suffer from psychological disorders, including anxiety and depression.

About Our Grants

In 2019, the Woodcock Foundation awarded a $15,000 grant to Roots of Empathy’s US program for efforts to build caring, peaceful, and civil societies through evidence-based classroom programming that reduces levels of aggression among schoolchildren through building empathy.