Provincial anti-bullying programs to expand

Joined by kindergarten children at Morley elementary school,  Premier Christy Clark today announced the expansion in B.C. of the  internationally recognized Roots of Empathy anti-bullying program.

Clark, joined by Minister of Children and Family  Development Mary McNeil, Richmond East MLA Linda Reid and Roots of Empathy  founder Mary Gordon, announced the expansion of the Roots program into  approximately 360 kindergarten classrooms across B.C. this year. The Seeds  of Empathy program, which focuses on teaching four- and five-year-olds,  will also be expanded into 22 preschools or child care settings in 2011-12.

The programs will be co-funded by the Ministry of Children and Family  Development and the Ministry of Education. The two ministries have  committed to jointly provide $800,000 annually to support both of these  programs over five years.

“Both of these programs offer an enlightened way of opening children’s  eyes to the world around them, and teaching young children about empathy,  trust, and encouraging kindness with one another,” said Mary McNeil,  Minister of Children and Family Development.

An anti-bullying classroom program for elementary school students, the  Roots of Empathy program actively promotes respectful, kind behaviour and  addresses aggressive behaviours such as bullying, harassment, violence and  intimidation.

The Roots of Empathy program was founded in Canada in 1996 by Mary Gordon,  an internationally recognized educator, social entrepreneur, author and  child advocate.

Roots of Empathy and Seeds of Empathy are evidence-based programs with  positive track records in promoting empathy and compassion in children.


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