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Roots of Empathy Programme

Roots of Empathy supports positive mental health and wellbeing in children, creating a safe space for them to learn and talk about their feelings. Roots of Empathy is an international, evidence-based classroom programme that has shown significant effect in reducing levels of aggression amongst schoolchildren by raising social/emotional competence and increasing empathy. The programme helps them not only cope, but thrive in these challenging times.

The Programme has reached over one million children globally and been running in over 30 Lewisham schools since 2012.





Key research shows that children attending a Roots of Empathy programme develop:

  • An increase in empathy & resilience
  • An increase in sharing, caring & helping
  • A decrease in aggressive behaviour & bullying

Roots of Empathy research shows:

  • 92% of teachers strongly agreed or agreed that as a result of Roots of Empathy, pupils showed more prosocial behaviour (e.g. sharing, helping, cooperating) by the end of the school year. – Roots of Empathy 2018 Annual Programme Evaluation
  • 93% of pupils reported that if they saw a friend being bullied or treated meanly, they would help them – Roots of Empathy 2019 Annual Programme Evaluation
  • 92% of teachers strongly agreed or agreed that as a result of Roots of Empathy, pupils are more able to understand other people’s points of view. – Roots of Empathy 2018 Annual Programme Evaluation

Read more research on the Roots of Empathy Research website page

Young school pupil smiling at young baby


What teachers say: 

“I saw a more emotional and sensitive side to the children when they interacted. Roots of Empathy has allowed them to understand it is OK to talk about sensitive topics without having a negative reaction. If they are able to express how they feel I am able to break down any barriers to learning.” – Class teacher

“They are definitely more settled as a whole, especially given four changes of teacher that they have experienced over the year. They are able to use the language of Roots of Empathy more confidently and appropriately and they are able to connect what they have learned in the sessions to experiences within and outside those session.”  – Year 3 instructor, Rangefield Primary School, Lewisham

“One student who used to resort to violence now calms himself down. There have been very little physical interactions of violence compared to the beginning of the year”  – Year 6 teacher, Southwark Park Primary School, Southwark


Young boy in red hoodie passing a ball to a baby


What students say to the babies they spend time with:

“I hope you have a happy life and learn to be loving and caring”. Felicity

“I hope you grow up to be a clever and sensible girl who is honest and kind and

achieves what you want to do when you grow up and that your parents are proud of the amazing stuff you do at school” Rhea

“I hope you are happy and have friends. ” Olivia

“I hope you pass all your exams and fulfil your dream of whatever you want to do”. Delwyn

“I hope you make lots of friends and have some wonderful adventures in your life”. Celia

Mother in headscarf smiling with her baby and two school female school pupils


Delivery Models & Costs

Two delivery models for the 2021-2022 school year:

  • Traditional Programme – 27 week classroom delivery
  • Recovery Programme – 5-10 week virtual delivery

If it is not safe to bring a baby in the classroom (based on government/health guidelines), and/or the school does not allows visitors, and/or the volunteer family is not comfortable to come in person, then the Recovery Programme is the option.

Costs: £18.50 per class per week for a class of 25  –  just 75p per child per week!

Dad showing his baby to school pupils



The Roots of Empathy mission is to build caring, peaceful, and civil societies through the development of empathy in children and adults. The vision is to change the world, child by child.

For further details, and a discussion about how the programme could work in your school, please contact us at Early Years Alliance: rootsofempathy@eyalliance.org.uk

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