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Supporting the Early Years: Insights from Pre-Conference Day at UBC’s Early Years Conference

On February 1, The Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) hosted the Pre-Conference at UBC’s 2024 Early Years Conference, welcoming nearly 300 early years professionals from BC, across Canada, and beyond. Aboriginal Steering Committee (ASC) Elder Reanna Erasmus set the stage for an insightful day with a grounding welcome, focused on the room’s collective work on fostering equity for all children.

Dr. Barry Forer presents at EYC Pre-Conference Day | Photo: Bryan Lee

HELP Director Dr. Mariana Brussoni and Research Methodologist Dr. Barry Forer followed the opening with presentations covering the latest trends gleaned from Early Development Instrument (EDI) and the Childhood Experiences Questionnaire (CHEQ) data, including the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and children’s early experiences and development. These foundational discussions provided a comprehensive overview of the landscape, setting the stage for deeper dives into specific research projects and initiatives.

(L-R) Dr. Angie Ip, Dr. Monique Gagné Petteni, Randip Gill, Dr. Magdalena Janus take stage for a Research In Action panel presentation | Photo: Bryan Lee

Throughout the day, HELP faculty, researchers, and students shared their work and findings, demonstrating the tangible ways in which data from the Child Development Monitoring System is informing research endeavors across Canada. Notable presentations included Dr. Magdalena Janus‘ highlights from 20 years of research using EDI data and Randip Gill‘s exploration of the association between early poverty and developmental outcomes. Additionally, Dr. Monique Gagné Petteni‘s mixed-methods study on the well-being of children from refugee backgrounds and Dr. Angie Ip’s research on developmental profiles of children assessed for autism spectrum disorder offered valuable perspectives on diverse developmental contexts.

EYC Pre-Conference Day attendees participate in a lively wellness activity led by ASC Elder Duane Jackson, adding laughter and movement into the day! | Photo: Bryan Lee

The day culminated in a powerful panel discussion featuring community partners from various sectors, including representatives from Rocky Mountain School District’s Early Learning Team (Crystal MacLeod and Glenn Goslin), Fraser Health (Tracy Hoskin and Michelle Urbina-Beggs), and South Island Indigenous Authority (Erica Pepevnak and Jenna Lancaster). This dynamic discussion highlighted the impactful utilization of data to drive positive change within their respective communities, showcasing real-world applications of research findings in shaping policies and practices to support children, youth, and families.

(L-R) Tracy Hoskin, Michelle Urbina-Beggs, Glenn Goslin, Crystal MacLeod, Erica Pepevnak, Jenna Lancaster, Kinwa Bluesky, Kate Buium speak during a Data in Action panel presentation | Photo: Bryan Lee

To close the day, ASC members Laranna Scott and Sheila Grieve joined Elders Erasmus and Duane Jackson for thoughtful reflections.

Thank you to all of those that joined us for the Pre-Conference at UBC’s 2024 Early Years Conference! We hope this day resonated with you and emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts in promoting equitable opportunities for all children.

Presentation slides and other resources from HELP’s Pre-Conference Day are now available here.

Aboriginal Steering Committee with Kinwa Bluesky, Senior Manager of Indigenous Initiatives.
(Clockwise from left) Elder Duane Jackson, Chantelle Colthorp, Nicole Audia, Trudy Hill, Lori Huston, Jeremy Belyea,
Carrie Anne Vanderhoop, Laranna Scott, Elder Reanna Erasmus, Sheila Grieve, Kinwa Bluesky | Photo: Bryan Lee
(L-R) Dr. Magdalena Janus, Dr. Monique Gagné Petteni, Dr. Angie Ip, Randip Gill review audience questions for panel discussion | Photo: Bryan Lee
ASC Elder Duane Jackson | Photo: Bryan Lee