Roots of Empathy inducted into education innovation ‘Hall of Fame’

On October 26th, the global organization HundrED that discovers, researches and shares inspiring innovations for kindergarten to grade 12 education, inducted Roots of Empathy, founded by Ashoka Fellow Mary Gordon, into their Hall of Fame.

For more than 25 years, Ashoka Fellow Mary Gordon has been helping uncover the hidden power of empathy as a foundational skill for all children, and in extension, all adults. A skill that can be “be caught, not taught.” Mary is an educator, author, child advocate, parenting expert, and the founder of Roots of Empathy, a Toronto-based organization with a global reach.

On October 26th , the global organization HundrED that discovers, researches and shares inspiring innovations for kindergarten to grade 12 education, inducted Roots of Empathy into their Hall of Fame.

This recognition confirms what we know, empathy is a foundational skill for changemaking and critical to our Everyone a Changemaker world. As the world rapidly changes, society that demands that everyone be able to innovate, adapt, and solve problems. The ability to do so hinges on people's ability to practice empathy. 

Research has shown that the Roots of Empathy program significantly reduces bullying and aggression with lasting effects, and increases empathy and pro-social behaviours like kindness, inclusion and sharing. The program’s novel approach to fostering empathy brings in a parent and their baby into a classroom nine times over the school year. A Roots of Empathy instructor guides the children to read the baby’s emotional cues and take the baby’s perspective. Children develop an understanding and vocabulary for the baby’s feelings that through the program, becomes a bridge to understand, identify, and talk about their own feelings - even the deepest and most troubling.

“Being selected for the HundrED Hall of Fame is truly a great honour and recognition for Roots of Empathy. We provide support to students and to their teachers as we raise the bar on what it means to be human – to be empathic,” said Mary Gordon, Founder and President of Roots of Empathy. “Empathy is a pathway to better relationships in childhood that feeds resiliency, happiness and progress towards a more just and kinder world.”

To be in HundrED’s Hall of Fame is to be amongst an even smaller group from an already elite annual selection of thousands of education innovations from around the world. Only four organizations were selected for the Hall of Fame this year, and Roots of Empathy is the only Hall of Fame selection from North America and is proud to be in the company of the other inductees from India, Belgium, and Mali.

“Roots of Empathy has been part of our selected 100 Global Collections for the last 5 years and we are delighted to induct Roots of Empathy into our Hall of Fame,” said Lasse Leponiemi , HundrED Hall of Fame Executive Director/Co-Founder. “Education innovations are key to education system transformation, and we feel it is important for more educators in the world to know about the best ones to learn from for their local areas."

Read more about this honor and Roots of Empathy's work here.