The Childhood Experiences Questionnaire
What is The Childhood Experiences Questionnaire (CHEQ)?
The CHEQ is an innovative way to capture and report on children’s experiences in their early environments – from birth to Kindergarten. The questionnaire focuses on experiences in specific areas of development that are strongly linked to children’s health and well-being, education and social outcomes. The information from the CHEQ helps us understand how children are doing so that teachers, school districts and communities can provide better support and services to families and their children.
Health & Well-being
Parents respond to questions about their child’s physical health and overall well-being including daily physical activities, routine health care check-ups, nutrition and sleep habits.
Language & Cognition
Parents respond to questions about a variety of experiences that influence their child’s language development and cognition, including readings, storytelling, engaging in conversation and pretend play, rhyming, using pens and pencils, counting and sorting, painting and more.
Social & Emotional Well-being
Parents are asked about different social experiences their child may have had before Kindergarten, including playing with other children, sharing and helping others. In addition, parents are asked about opportunities their child may have had to talk about their emotions and the emotional experiences of others.
Early Learning & Care
Parents are asked about their child’s experiences in non-parental care arrangements and preschool, as well as challenges faced when looking for care. They are also asked about their child’s experience with intervention programs and supports.
Community & Context
Parents respond to questions about their perceptions of neighbourhood safety, opportunities for children to play outside in their neighbourhood, social support networks and whether neighbours can be counted on to look after children.
Why was the CHEQ developed?
When children are young, the experiences they have exploring, learning and interacting with others in a variety of settings can influence their development. For many years, results from the Early Development Instrument have shown that there is great variability in children’s skills and competencies at Kindergarten entry across the province. These research results prompted an interdisciplinary research team of experts in child development, in collaboration with teachers, administrators and community stakeholders from across British Columbia to develop a new tool to assess the experiences of children prior to Kindergarten in order to better understand these results.
How is the CHEQ used?
Information collected using the CHEQ will be instantly summarized into individual, classroom and school level reports. These reports will provide principals and teachers with detailed overviews of each child as well as their Kindergarten classrooms at the start of each school year, thereby aiding in both understanding of the specific needs of these classes as well as in planning for the school year.
Informing your child’s teacher about the variety of your child’s experiences socializing, being in group settings, and sharing or helping others can help the teacher know your child better.
If a group of children entering Kindergarten have limited experience outdoors in active engagement with their environments, knowing how familiar a classroom of children is with the neighbourhood may influence how a school chooses to spend their time. Your school may organize neighbourhood walks, experiences in nature and more.
Building on HELP’s history of working with our community stakeholders to create the conditions to most effectively support families, our future goal is also to provide comprehensive community reports that can assist stakeholders in making evidence-based decisions about programming and services for young children.
How do the CHEQ & EDI work together?
Parents of Kindergarten children from participating schools across British Columbia complete the CHEQ in September. Teachers complete the Early Development Instrument (EDI) the following February. The information from the EDI can be linked to the CHEQ from that school year and then used to help us understand how the experiences children are having in the early years are related to skills and competencies measured on the EDI.