The Aboriginal Steering Committee at HELP is seeking new members

First established in 2003, the Aboriginal Steering Committee (ASC) at HELP is made up of community members with First Nation, Métis, and Inuit ancestry, including Elders. ASC members are vital to ensuring that HELP’s research has meaning for, and is consistent with, First Nation, Métis, and Inuit communities’ objectives and intentions for their children and families.

By sharing their knowledge and experience, ASC members support a deeper understanding of the social and cultural determinants of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children’s health and well-being. The ASC ensures research activities at HELP involving First Nations, Métis, and Inuit are reflective of the diverse histories, cultures, languages, values and ways of knowing and being.

We need you to guide this important work forward. We are looking for creative and energetic individuals who share our common interest in improving developmental outcomes for all First Nation, Métis, and Inuit children in BC. 

If you are interested in joining the ASC, please submit your résumé, cover letter, and two references by email to Kinwa Bluesky, Senior Manager, Indigenous Initiatives, at

Learn more HERE

Thank You

A warm thank you to everyone who participated in the Early Years Conference 2022 - Disruption and Transformation! This conference continues to grow in so many ways because of your participation and contributions. We hope you found it as informative and inspiring as we did.

Additional information, including the conference recording links and Professional Development certificates have been sent to participants directly. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you did not receive these emails. A link to the conference evaluation was also sent. If you have not already done so, please take a few minutes to complete it. The data gathered will help us plan the next Early Years Conference in 2024.

Looking for literature to further explore the content of our EYC conference? We suggest Odin Books, specializing in Mental Health & Wellness and Inclusive Education books and resources ( Odin has specifically curated lists of useful resources for Early Years Conference 2022 participants:

Odin, Books for Early Years Conference 2022

Odin, Puppets, Toys, Games, and Sensory Tools for Early Years Conference 2022

The Early Years Conference Planning Committee

Remembering Clyde Hertzman

It has been nine years since the untimely passing of our dear friend and colleague, Dr. Clyde Hertzman. 

Clyde’s influence in the fields of early child development, population health and epidemiology were significant across British Columbia, nationally and internationally. "A passionate visionary, esteemed researcher and early child advocate, Clyde inspired every one of us." And he continues to do so.

Please join us today in remembering Clyde and the central role his research had in linking population health to human development, emphasizing the special role of early child development as a determinant of health. 

This video is a compilation of a few of Dr. Clyde Hertzman's key messages. Clips were taken from various videos projects originally produced by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, the Dalai Lama Center and the Human Early Learning Partnership.

The full Early Years Conference 2022 program is now available!

As a proud member of the Early Years Conference Planning Committee, HELP is pleased to share that the full Early Years Conference 2022 program is now available and can be viewed at

Early Years Conference 2022 will once again lead the field of professional development in early childhood development, early childhood intervention, and family support. With a program designed by the conference’s long-standing Planning Committee, the 2022 event will focus on the theme: Disruption and Transformation and examine how the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted young children and families, as well as all the systems of care and support for them. It promises to bring you new knowledge and timely skills to apply to your professional practice. Sessions will include keynote presentations by Dr. Jennifer Charlesworth (March 1, 2022) and Dr. Michael Ungar (March 2, 2022), as well as parent and practitioner panels and concurrent sessions led by leading practitioners and researchers, and more.

Please visit to view the complete program, learn more and register.

HELP Holiday Hours

The Human Early Learning Partnership office will be closed from 4:30 PM on Friday, December 17, 2021 and will resume operations on Tuesday, January 4, 2022.

We look forward to connecting with you in 2022. 

Thank You

As 2021 comes to a close I am reminded of all I have to be thankful for. It was an incredible year with many highlights for the organization. Yet, like many of HELP’s colleagues and collaborators, we look ahead to the work that needs to be done.

In September, I shared my belief that HELP’s research and data will become ever more invaluable as we grapple with some of the most challenging problems that we have ever faced as a society. British Columbia’s record breaking rain and flooding, coupled with the ongoing pandemic, have heightened this belief. There is much to do. We are feeling so grateful to be tackling these challenges with amazing and committed collaborators across the province and the country.

HELP is working on some important projects for 2022 across research and knowledge mobilization. In 2021, we collected 49,000 CHEQ, EDI and MDI surveys across BC - an astounding achievement, particularly in the midst of the many challenges faced this year. Next year will bring even more coverage of these critical monitoring instruments. Hearing from more children in this province, and linking with other population-level datasets will enable profound and necessary insights on how ...

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HELP's next Bannock & Banter session is January 20, 2022.

Led by Kinwa Bluesky, Senior Manager, Indigenous Initiatives, and supported by members of the Aboriginal Steering Committee, Bannock & Banter is a kitchen table-style discussion offering a time and space for HELPers to chat about how the United Nations Declaration  of the Rights of the Child, in conjunction with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation’s Calls to Action, and the Murdered and National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’  Calls for Justice, can provideawork for ongoing reconciliation and support our collective efforts to decolonize and empower Indigenous communities, families, and children. 

HELP’s next Bannock & Banter session will take place on January 20, 2022 at 11am (PST). Please join us as Kinwa leads HELP’ers in a conversation focused on the Truth & Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action and how we can action the Calls. This discussion will once again be livestreamed via Facebook. Please find the event listing HERE.

Looking for another bannock recipe to perfect? How about this winner from 8 year old Jazmine Uki Akeeagok - The full recipe can be found at ...

CHEQ COVID Rapid Report 2021

The Childhood Experiences Questionnaire (CHEQ) is a questionnaire completed by parents and caregivers at the start of the kindergarten school year. It is an innovative way to learn about and report on children’s experiences in their early environments, focusing on specific areas of development that are strongly linked to children’s health and well-being, education and social outcomes. 

The information collected is valuable, providing insight into how communities and schools can support children and their families prior to school entry. 

This year, it is also providing meaningful information about the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This past September, in addition to completing the standard CHEQ questionnaire, families of kindergarten students in 19 school districts across British Columbia were asked additional questions that centered on the impacts the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is having on parents and caregivers, children and families. 

Findings from the CHEQ provide evidence of the challenges and changes children and families in communities in BC continue to experience during this pandemic. Of note, families report changes to job status and work hours, with 25% reporting decreases to family income during the pandemic. Over half of children are spending less than the recommended time being physically active ...

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Early Years Conference 2022 Registration is NOW OPEN!

HELP is pleased to share that registration is open for Early Years Conference 2022: Disruption and Transformation

Since March 2020, the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted young children and families, as well as all the systems of care and support for them. The increasing threats and effects of climate change have been compounding this duress, with many communities dislocated by wildfires and floods in less than a year. There is also a growing awareness of the ways in which these events increase social, economic and racial inequities. Further, here in BC, there has been acknowledgement of the additional stressors and barriers faced by families with children with complex support needs, all impacting families long before the crises. At the same time, families, practitioners and service providers across the early years sector have been adapting and responding to these challenges. Amid this disruption  the seeds for transformation and change are being planted. 

We invite those in the early childhood development, intervention, and family support fields to register today and join us virtually on March 1 & 2, 2022. Together, conference attendees will reflect on and explore the factors impacting children’s development and family support services during this challenging ...

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New Bannock & Banter presentation series kicked off November 25

HELP kicked off our Bannock & Banter series on November 25th. Over Bannock & Banter, Kinwa Bluesky, Senior Manager, Indigenous Initiatives, along with Duane Jackson and Elder Reanna Erasmus, ledHELP’ers in conversation about how the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child, in conjunction with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation’s Calls to Action, and the Murdered and National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls for Justice, can provide a framework for ongoing reconciliation and support our collective efforts to decolonize and empower Indigenous communities, families, and children. Kinwa shared an understanding of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Calls to Action and some context around it's development and how we can think about it in our daily lives. 

The kitchen table styled conversation was livestreamed via Facebook. The recording can be viewed at

Looking for a Bannock Recipe? Try this one, shared by Shantel Tallow of Aahksoyo’p Indigenous Comfort Food, and tested by HELPers:

Upcoming Presentation Dates

January 20th, 2022 – Truth & Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action & Actioning the ...

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National Child Day

November 20th is National Child Day, which acknowledges and commemorates Canada’s adoption of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The convention reminds us that “every child, has every right” and outlines our responsibilities toward ensuring all children are thriving in healthy societies.

HELP is committed to upholding children’s rights and takes seriously our responsibility to include and promote these rights as part of our research and knowledge mobilization activities. The following articles are of particular importance to HELP:

Article 12: You have the right to give your opinion, and for adults to listen and take it seriously.

Children’s voices matter! One of the core beliefs that is foundational to both the Middle Development Instrument (MDI) and Youth Development Instrument (YDI)  is that children’s voices deserve to be heard and responded to. Asking children about their feelings, relationships, environments, and daily lives affords them with a critical opportunity to provide information about their well-being and the assets in their lives that would otherwise be inaccessible. Learning from children directly— in their own voices— provides essential data to support evidence-based decision making for ...

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New Ministry of Education initiatives funds HELP to grow Compassionate Systems Leadership in BC

Over the last year, HELP’s Director of External Partnerships, Joanne Schroeder, has been leading an initiative to grow capacity for Compassionate Systems Leadership (CSL) in BC’s education sector. Through a close collaboration with the Ministry of Education, this initiative has continued to gain interest and momentum across the province, engaging actors across the sector, from early years educators to superintendents. 

Compassionate Systems Leadership is one of the three main elements of the ministry’s Mental Health in Schools Strategy, which aims to provide the K- 12 system with evidence-based tools and supports that embed mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention programs. The Ministry of Education believes that, “Compassionate Systems Leadership in education invites administrators and educators to build system awareness and capacities in support of student well-being and resiliency.”

We pleased to share that the BC Ministry of Education is partnering with HELP to continue to build a Compassionate Systems Leadership in BC Education Network. Joanne, both in her capacity as a CSL Trainer and HELP’s Director of External Partnerships will lead the network with the overarching purpose of creating a sustainable CSL model to support the BC Education system. This will work include CSL trainings ...

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HELP is Hiring!

Community Research Liaison & Partnership Coordinator – Posting #JR4796

HELP is seeking a part-time Community Research Liaison & Partnership Coordinator responsible for providing assistance on a number of research projects in the Community Research and Engagement Lab (CoRE-Lab) research division of HELP. The incumbent engages in various aspects of facilitating participant recruitment, community and research partnership development; facilitating community meetings, workshops, and meeting with community partners; data collection (survey administration, individual and focus group interviews, and natural observation); and knowledge transfer. The incumbent will work under the direct supervision of the Principal Investigator and the Research Administrator. The job will require flexible working hours and will require occasional evenings, weekends and overnight travel.   For further information, please go to the UBC Job Careers page:

Every Child Matters. We Matter. I Matter.

Reflections on the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by Kinwa Bluesky

This week at UBC, I attended the Returning Home and Pathways to Reconciliation event held at the Chan Centre for Performing Arts.  With an audience adorned in Orange Shirts, we listened to Phyllis Webstad, a Survivor of the former St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School in Williams Lake and founder of Orange Shirt Day, share about her work in continuing to raise awareness about the detrimental more than a century-long legacy of the residential school system.  We were also privy to an advanced viewing of “Returning Home,” a 90-min Canadian Geographic documentary by award-winning filmmaker Sean Stiller, that intertwines the stories of Phyllis’ healing journey in the creation of the Orange Shirt Society and the dwindling decline of wild salmon.  The film premieres at the Vancouver International Film Festival this Saturday, October 2nd at 12:30pm.

This National Day for Truth and Reconciliation choose to take action in honouring those who attended residential schools, their families, and communities. Create meaningful discussion and reflection about the effects of these schools for your friends, families and children, at your kitchen tables, in your classrooms, and in your meetings. Choose ...

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HELP’s Monitoring System in Action

The 2020-21 school year will be one to remember. School communities across the province are facing many challenges as children and educators return to school amidst the fourth wave of the pandemic, and following a summer of displacement, loss and increased anxiety due to heat and wildfires.

Despite these challenges, our school district and community partners continue to support and promote the collection of critical population-level data that help us to understand and address the experiences and challenges faced by children and families. Here’s what we’ve learned so far from HELP’s monitoring system.

Children’s mental health is still top of mind. 
The disruption of regular routines and support systems over the past 18 months due to public health restrictions have impacted children of all ages. Data gathered using the Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI) from over 43,000 children in Grades 4 through 8 before and during the COVID-19 pandemic are providing initial insights into this issue. Early analyses of the most recent MDI data from 2020-2021 indicates that fewer children in grades 7 and 8 reported high well-being during the pandemic as compared to previous years, and also reported less presence of key assets, including ...

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