CLICK HERE to view the Eastern Townships Gathering: Thinking Big for our Children! page.
You will find all the documentation, including the various presentations projected during the day.

In the Eastern Townships, most children are prospering and living in healthy circumstances that favour their full development. From birth, every action undertaken by a parent or adult in their environment will have a lifelong impact: on fulfillment, health, educational success, entry into the adult world, and the ability to actively contribute to society. The more positive experiences that a child has in early life, the more they will be protected against difficulties later in adulthood.

In the Eastern Townships, 29%1 of children are considered at risk in at least one developmental domain upon entry to kindergarten, thus jeopardizing their ability to enjoy learning and their drive to succeed. Further, inequalities exist simply because children sometimes grow up under very different conditions. A few factors that contribute to the risk of developing these vulnerabilities are: having poorly educated parents, living in a low-income family, being born outside of Canada, having English as a mother tongue or being a boy.

Working together to
Think Big for our Children

From birth and throughout all stages of development, many actors play leading roles in determining a child’s life. First up are family and the immediate social circle, but we are also influenced by members of the community (early childhood educators, teachers, social services employees, etc.) and institutional decision-makers as well as the local, regional, and provincial levels of government.

These contributing actors can have differing impacts depending on their position of leverage: some directly on children and families, others via training and development of professional practices, by research and transfer of knowledge, or even by creating favorable environments or public policies. All these impacts become even more powerful when you act collectively!

The Politique gouvernementale de prévention en santé emphasizes the importance of supporting and enhancing the overall development of toddlers and school-aged youth2. In Eastern Townships, the percentage of children with no vulnerability upon entry to kindergarten is 71%. The national goal is to raise this to 80% by 2025. The hope is that all children will be able to reach their full potential throughout not only their education but the rest of their lives.

In the Eastern Townships, Thinking Big for our Children the most at risk means attaining this target collectively, particularly by targeting children to reduce inequalities.

1. To recognize and support parents as the primary allies in a child’s development

  • To listen to and recognize the experiences of parents so that they might influence decisions made that affect their children.

  • To support for parents in a way that respects their values and builds on their potential strengths.

2. To act early

  • To act pre-emptively regarding protective factors to maximize the impact on all children and all families, particularly during the most sensitive periods, e.g. during transitions.

  • To use early intervention with children, if necessary, in order to modify or mitigate difficulties that might arise in the various areas of development.

3. To build upon promising methods

  • To contribute to the lifting of barriers faced by families.

  • To work with an outreach approach style to truly reach families.

  • To build upon the alliances between practical application and research findings to encourage innovation. Concrete results are created by combining everyone’s knowledge.

4. To act with convergence and coherence

  • To share a common understanding of a child’s needs.

  • To promote complementarity and continuity in services and actions.

  • To act with the consultation of all community actors in mind.

Thinking Big for our Children: an invitation to all Eastern Townships actors and organizations!

We subscribe to the vision of a region where all children have an equal opportunity to attain their highest potential.

In order to increase the proportion of children who start school without vulnerability in one of the domains mentioned from 70.6% to 80% by 2025, and to promote their success throughout their education, we commit ourselves to:

  • Putting the needs of the child at the heart of our decision-making;
  • Recognizing that the four principles of action are essential to our collective success;
  • Taking concrete actions that are consistent with these principles;
  • Making the Charter known and encouraging our colleagues, our organization, or our partners to join.

To download the Charter, CLICK HERE.


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