The CHEQ: Information for Parents & Caregivers
CHEQ at a Glance
- The Childhood Experiences Questionnaire (CHEQ) is an innovative way to capture and report on children’s experiences in their early environments prior to Kindergarten.
- It is completed by parents or caregivers at the beginning of the school year.
- It is completed during a designated time at the child’s school or online at home.
- The CHEQ takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.
- The CHEQ gathers information on children’s experiences that are important to their healthy development and well-being.
- Information from the CHEQ is summarized in individual, classroom, school and district reports.
- The CHEQ is used by schools and communities to provide targeted supports and services to children and their families.
- CHEQ Information Sheet (PDF)
What is the 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 used to evaluate individual children, families or parents. It is not used to assess children’s skills or abilities. Instead, it provides information about the experiences children have in different environments and with different people, prior to Kindergarten. If you feel that there is important information about your child’s experiences that are not included in the CHEQ, please share these with your child’s school. Additionally, if there is information you disclosed on the CHEQ that you feel your child’s school should know, please share this directly with a person at the school. Although teachers and principals are encouraged to review CHEQ reports, it is not mandatory.
What do I have to do and when?
Your child’s school will organize an opportunity for you to complete the CHEQ, along with other parents and caregivers, in the first few weeks of the school year. Before September, your child’s school will send you an information letter notifying you of when and how to complete the CHEQ. The letter will also include information about the CHEQ and contact information in case you have any questions. Once you are ready to complete the CHEQ, you will be prompted to review the Parent/Guardian Consent Letter before you begin the questionnaire. This letter includes detailed information about the CHEQ and is available in 12 languages:
After reading the letter, you can choose whether or not you wish to complete the questionnaire.
Can I view the Parent/Guardian Consent Letter?
Prior to completing the questionnaire at school or at home, parents and caregivers will be prompted to review the consent letter and by clicking “I Agree” will be directed to begin the CHEQ. This process is called Parent/Guardian Active Consent, and is part of our commitment to ensuring that parents and caregivers feel comfortable completing the questionnaire and sharing information about their child’s experiences with teachers and school staff.
The Parent/Guardian Letter is avaible in 12 languages. Please see the list above.
Is my decision to complete the CHEQ voluntary?
Your decision to complete the CHEQ is voluntary, which means it is entirely up to you. You have the right to refuse to complete it. If you choose to complete it, you can stop at any time without giving a reason and without any negative impact on you or your child. 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?
There are two parts to the CHEQ:
Part 1 includes questions about your child’s experiences, and is used for individual, classroom and school reports and summaries. 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 and these reports may be shared with school personnel. School personnel follow their professional practice guidelines for safeguarding your child’s personal information and these reports are not made public.
Part 2 of the CHEQ includes questions about things like employment, education and income. Answers to these questions are confidential. Your responses to these questions are not provided to your child’s school personnel. Identifying information is removed from these responses and these data are used for research purposes only, to better understand the characteristics of your neighborhood and community. 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.
Part 3 includes questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This section helps us understand the secondary impacts of the pandemic on children and families. Completion of these questions is voluntary and parents and caregivers can choose to skip these when completing the questionnaire. Your answers will be combined with those from other parents and caregivers, and shared with school personnel at the school, school district and neighbourhood level anonymously.
How is my 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.