Roots of Empathy 

changing the world, child by child

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Roots of Empathy

Roots of Empathy develops empathy in children today so they can build the world that they deserve. It cultivates caring, peaceful, and civil societies through the development of empathy in kids and adults. Research shows the program reduces aggression; increases sharing, caring and inclusion; and promotes resilience, well-being and positive mental health.

What sort of great teacher cultivates this sort of empathy?


In 50 first- and second-grade classrooms in Lane County, babies are the teachers. 90by30’s partnership with Roots of Empathy has allowed 1,225 local kids to join the one million children worldwide who have benefited from a year of visits from a baby and caregiver.

With age-appropriate curriculum and a certified Roots of Empathy Instructor as a guide, children learn to identify and understand the feelings of the baby, then their own feelings and the feelings of others: empathy.

Both the children and adults impacted by the program develop social-emotional competence – one of the five Strengthening Families Protective Factors that help prevent child abuse and neglect. Students learn how to create connections and healthy relationships that support their mental well-being and resilience, and set the foundation for optimal learning.

Roots of Empathy works – more than two decades of research tells us so. Caring, sharing, and including go up. Aggression and bullying go down. And the effects last. That’s why Roots of Empathy is a perfect addition to 90by30’s prevention efforts in Lane County.

What is Roots of Empathy?

Roots of Empathy is about changing the world, child by child. 

We believe the leaders of tomorrow are sitting in the classrooms of today, and they need imagination and empathy to be able to identify and solve society’s problems. Empathy is foundational to helping children navigate relationships, form connections, and be inclusive of others.

1st and 2nd grade classrooms

children impacted in lane county

classroom visits over the course of one school year

“I experienced a heartfelt moment when one student reached out to another, held their hand and said, ‘You belong at this school’ after she explained an incident of bullying.”

– Roots of Empathy Instructor

Whenever our baby achieved a milestone, the children were soooo happy for her! Cheers, applause, laughter . . . expressions of pure delight! That’s empathy.”

– Roots of Empathy Instructor