What's coming in 2018?

Dear Friends, Partners and Supporters of HELP, 

I’d like to start 2018 by acknowledging that HELP operates on the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish Coast Salish peoples. We offer our sincere appreciation and gratitude to each of these Nations for allowing us to teach, learn, work and study each day on their traditional territory.

Dr. Kim Schonert-Reichl, HELP’s Director, and I would also like to acknowledge the ongoing commitment of the members of our Aboriginal Steering Committee. They guide our program of research and reporting, support HELP in developing a deeper understanding of the social and cultural determinants of Aboriginal children’s health and well-being and nurture our understanding of cultural safety. Thank you.

Closing 2017

2017 was another rich year of progress at HELP.

Dr. Michael Kobor was appointed as the SunnyHill BC Leadership Chair in Child Development, with a commitment to lead a world class program of research about social epigenetics: how experience gets under the skin. Joanne Schroeder, a past HELP leader, received a Max Bell Foundation Policy Fellowship and has returned to HELP to push forward our commitment to early years systems leadership.

Our Faculty were also successful in securing four new Social Sciences and Humanities Research (SSHRC) grants to support our community systems and data linkage research. A research team submitted a successful Peter Wall International Symposium grant that will move forward a discussion about child development and play. Additional research projects are focusing on child development in refugee populations, classroom stress and its influence on child development, social epigenetics, all made progress.

On the active data collection, reporting and community engagement front, we expanded a pilot of the Childhood Experiences Questionnaire (CHEQ) to 11 BC school districts with the support of the Provincial Office of the Early Years. Our newest questionnaire, the Toddler Development Instrument (TDI) was piloted in 11 sites and we gathered data from 500 parents. We supported the use of the Middle Development Instrument (MDI) in half of BC school districts and in support, launched DiscoverMDI, a rich online source of information about social emotional well-being and MDI. We also supported the use of the MDI in four other Canadian provinces and territories. We released new EDI Subscales Reports. And finally, Dr. Brenda Poon was able to share important findings from our Community Systems research at our annual Fall Expo in November.

In closing the year, I feel that we are getting closer each year to realizing a goal that was first articulated by our Founder, Dr. Clyde Hertzman: to build a world-class system of child development monitoring. And we are also making constant progress on our Human Development Program Research understanding the differences that make a difference in terms of programs/services, community systems and policy.

What’s coming in 2018?

Looking forward to the coming year, I am excited about what is in store. Some things to watch out for in particular are:

We will be deepening our connections with the CHEQ, focusing particularly on how we can support school districts to move toward population coverage. And further testing with the TDI will enhance out understanding about the value of the tool and potential for population level use. The use of the MDI nationally looks set to grow with particularly strong relationships with school boards in Ontario and the new Aboriginal School System in Manitoba.

After a year and a half of detailed work, including the support of external consultants, we will be producing Aboriginal MDI reports for the first time. The reports provide a detailed Aboriginal context for MDI data and will be available by request to First Nations Chief and Council, Aboriginal Education Committees, Indigenous institutions and Aboriginal organizations serving off-reserve populations.

We will be hosting two new interdisciplinary research-to-practice networks in the fields of Child Health, and Neuroscience and Education. And our commitment to nurturing a provincial conversation about social and emotional wellbeing from birth to adolescence will continue.

Joanne Schroeder’s Systems Leadership work in the early childhood sector will ramp up and active work will begin in two or thee communities, to be selected in the early part of 2018.

We will be hosting both our regular series of webinar and HELP Talks events this year. In addition, we will continue to visit communities around the province to engage in learning and dialogue. In August, HELP will be hosting a National Symposium on Child Well-being. Watch our monthly newsletter, the HELP Blog and our social media channels for news and information.

On behalf of both myself and HELP’s Director, Dr. Kim Schonert-Reichl, I want to thank you for your continued connection to HELP’s work. Your partnership and involvement are an integral part of our progress toward our vision of ”All Children Thriving in Healthy Societies.”

We look forward to working with you in 2018.

Pippa Rowcliffe
Deputy Director,
Human Early Learning Partnership