The Human Early Learning Partnership

Photo of Main Entrance to SPPH Building, UBC

The Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) is a collaborative, interdisciplinary research network, based at the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia. HELP’s unique partnership brings together many scientific viewpoints to address complex early child development (ECD) issues. HELP connects researchers and practitioners from communities and institutions across BC, Canada and internationally.


All children thriving in healthy societies.


We are dedicated to improving the health and well-being of children through interdisciplinary research and mobilizing knowledge.

Our Guiding Principles

Equity from the Start & Investing Early
Inequities in child development are preventable and we strive for greater fairness and equity, as a matter of social justice.

Investment in children across the early life course will have substantial positive effect on long-term population health: what happens to children in their earliest years is critical for their development throughout the life course. The years from birth to school graduation are foundational for brain and biological development.

Proportionate Universality
Realizing substantive shifts in the current patterns of child development, with significant differences between neighbourhoods and regions, requires that we pioneer strategies that build a universal platform to support children and families while also allowing intensive investment into those areas that have particularly high levels of vulnerability.

Child development is an inherently interdisciplinary topic. To achieve our vision and to act in accordance with our mission, we bring together many different view points and bodies of thought, to reflect on critical questions and build momentum toward improving child outcomes.

As an organization, we always try to practice compassion and respect. We value relationships as central to everything we do.

Cultural Sensitivity
We honour the multiple cultures and languages that are critical to children’s developmental health and well-being: we are committed to learning about and practicing cultural sensitivity.

We understand that achieving the vision we share with many will require the time and energy of multiple people and organizations, and so we consider external partners as active participants and contributors to our research and knowledge-to-action work. We are committed to being responsive and to working in partnership with others. We connect with faculty and experts across many disciplines at UBC nationally and internationally.

Our Unique Approach

We focus on the whole child. Three broad domains influence overall development of the whole child: physical, social emotional and language-cognitive, which together are the basis of “developmental health.” These domains of development are deeply interconnected and it is important to pay attention to this interconnectedness in designing and developing program and policy solutions.

We focus on development across the early life course. We explore the many interactive and intersecting environments - social, relational, cultural, spiritual, environmental, political, and economic - in which children are born, grow, play, learn, work and age, and which determine lifelong health and well-being

We pioneer an integrated and creative knowledge-to-action (K2A) that prioritizes engagement and collaboration, to apply our research to influence policies, practices, and programs for children and families.

We work with our Aboriginal Steering Committee (ASC) to ensure the cultural relevance of our research and honour the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Please visit our Aboriginal Engagement page to learn more about our Aboriginal Steering Committee and our engagement with First Nations, M├ętis and Inuit communities.