The CHEQ: Information for Parents & Guardians

At a Glance: Information for Parents & Guardians

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 prior to Kindergarten. The CHEQ focuses on experiences in specific areas of development that are strongly linked to your child’s health and well-being, education and social outcomes. The information from the CHEQ helps communities understand how and where to provide support and services to children and families prior to Kindergarten; it also helps schools in planning for individual needs as well as classroom and school level planning.

Is the information used to evaluate my child or my family?

The CHEQ is not meant to evaluate individual children, families or parents. It is not used to assess your child’s skills or abilities. It provides information about the experiences your child has had in different environments and with different people, prior to Kindergarten. As with any questionnaire, there are limits to how many questions can be asked. If you feel that there is important information about your child’s experiences that are not included in the CHEQ, you will have opportunities to share these with your child’s school.  

What do I have to do and when?

If your child’s school is using the CHEQ, you will receive a letter from the school. The letter includes detailed information about the CHEQ as well as contact information in case you have any questions. Letters are available in five languages: Chinese (Simplified), English, Farsi, Korean and Punjabi. Your child’s school will request that you review this letter, and reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns. However, you are not required to sign or return the letter to your child’s school.  

Your child’s school will organize an opportunity for you to complete the CHEQ at school, along with other parents, in the first few weeks of the school year. Your child’s school will notify you of the date and time in advance so you can plan to attend. If you are not able to attend the school event, you can also complete the questionnaire online at home. The CHEQ is simple and easy to complete, and takes approximately 30 minutes of your time. 

Is the CHEQ voluntary?

Participation of the CHEQ is voluntary. You may also skip questions or respond with “prefer not to answer” on questions about your child’s experiences. 

What happens to the information I provide?

Some of the information that you provide in the CHEQ will be shared with your child’s teacher(s) and principal. This information may be used to better understand your child and plan for the school year. For this reason, your child’s name will be attached to this information. This information will be combined with other children in your child’s class, school and district and may be used to inform programs and services in your community. In this case, your child’s name will not be attached to this information.

Example: Parents complete a question from the CHEQ asking “How often did you or another important person in your child’s life read book or tell stories with your child?” If responses from the class highlight that 62% of parents reported that they read a few times a month, this information could be used by teachers to increase opportunities for older school peers to read to Kindergarten children and improve literacy levels.  

Some of the information that you provide in the CHEQ will not be shared with your child’s school. This information is grouped together with similar information from children in your child’s class and/or school and is used to highlight how different factors influence the nature of the experiences children have before they begin Kindergarten. This population health perspective is used by community and government partners to inform programs and services in your community. 

Example: Parents complete a question on the challenges experienced looking for early learning and childcare arrangements. If 69% of parents from the same neighbourhood indicate that finding affordable daycare was a challenge, this information, together with neighbourhood household income levels of parents with young children, could be used to make a case to government that affordable and accessible daycare options are needed in that community.

How is information protected?

The protection of your child’s and your family’s privacy is something HELP takes very seriously. Please visit our Safeguarding Personal Information page to learn more about how we protect the information that you provide on the CHEQ.