Our Program

Baby on Back

It is equally important for a child to learn to relate as it is to learn to read.”


- Mary Gordon, Founder/President, Roots of Empathy Organization
Creator, Seeds of Empathy

Seeds of Empathy is designed for Early Childhood settings to foster social and emotional competence and early literacy skills and attitudes in children three to five years old while providing professional development for their educators. (On this website, we refer to Early Childhood settings as "Centres".)

We teach a series of themes, each on a three-week cycle. During the first and second weeks of each cycle, Literacy Coaches (specially-trained staff members from the Centre) read and discuss books with small groups of children. In the third week, a Family Guide (another specially-trained staff member) hosts a Family Visit, where a baby (two to four months old at the beginning of the course) and his/her parent(s) visit the children in the Centre for half an hour. The Family Guide encourages the children to observe the baby's development, to label the baby's feelings, and to talk about their own feelings and those of others.

The Seeds of Empathy program helped the children to increase their vocabulary of feeling words. The children also increased their understanding of how others feel. We noticed that the children were less socially and emotionally aggressive to each other by the end of the program year. It has helped for children to develop prosocial behaviours such as sharing, helping each other, and cooperating. The children also developed positive attitudes towards reading. As a staff member, I have a greater understanding of early literacy development and the emotional lives of the children in the program. The program has helped the whole centre to promote empathy.”


- Seeds of Empathy Centre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada