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Research drives the engine of Invest in Kids. It keeps us on the forefront of knowledge about early child development; helps us identify and to support best practices; and underpins our ability to understand the attitudes, behaviours and needs of Canadians in caring for our youngest children. But most of all research gives us the means to understand the gap between the science and what parents and professionals think, know and do in early child development.

Parenting in the Beginning Years - Priorities for Investment

This report, prepared with support from The Lawson Foundation, reveals that while Canada can be proud of its efforts to improve and protect the physical health of infants and young children, we still have a long way to go to ensure an equal level of promise for our children’s social, emotional and intellectual development. Research indicates these areas are inextricably tied to parenting. Yet for new parents, Canada provides only a patchwork of services and supports, which mainly supply limited doses of information. Parent education efforts are primarily targeted to high risk parents, leaving the majority of ordinary parents without supports or resources to help them knowledgeably and confidently fulfill their role. Parent education programs are also largely unevaluated, so little is known about whom they reach and whether they are effective.

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Parent Education - What is Required to Build the Skills Parents Need to Raise Healthy Children

This report, prepared with support from the Lawson Foundation, distills what decades of study tell us about infants, parents and parent education programs that could assist parent educators in building effective programs for new parents. Before their first baby arrives, many of today’s parents view parenthood as idyllic. Although the majority do their best to educate themselves after their baby arrives, many come to feel incompetent, unsupported and personally demoralized. Their marital relationships suffer and likewise their parenting. Based on these findings, the report suggests a set of key parameters for modern parent education programs.

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National Survey of Parents

In 1999 Invest in Kids commissioned a survey of 1,643 parents to better understand the context in which young children are being raised in Canada. The survey explored how parents behave toward their children, what parents know about child development and parenting, their confidence in their parenting skills, their emotional well-being and it explored differences across key subgroups of parents.

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Review of Prevention/Early Intervention Research

Invest in Kids commissioned a worldwide study to evaluate the scientific rigor of over 4, 000 prevention and early intervention studies. This landmark review features the top 34 studies which meet high standards of quality. It is packaged with peer reviews and recommendations for a national approach to evaluating "what works" in intervention models and programs for Canadian families with young children. This document will be of particular interest to policymakers, researchers and program planners planning large-scale early childhood development initiatives.

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Growing Together

Growing Together is an innovative community-based model of prevention and early intervention programs designed to enhance social, emotional and intellectual development of young children living in high risk areas.

Invest in Kids supports active projects in two locations in Nova Scotia: Dartmouth North (near the province’s capital, Halifax) and Victoria County in Cape Breton. These locations provide services and supports to families with young children.

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WebForum 2001: The Millennium Dialogue on Early Child Development

Invest in Kids' commitment to further the development of scientific knowledge about early child development prompted a partnership with Dr. Dan Keating at the University of Toronto to hold WebForum 2001: The Millennium Dialogue on Early Child Development in November 2001. This event brought together eight of the foremost authorities in early child development from Canada, the United States and Great Britain to participate in a series of discussions, which were attended by a live audience and also webcast in "real time" on the internet and accessed by universities, hospitals and research institutes around the world. Topics included emotional development, societal and cultural issues, community impacts on children, brain development, and competence and coping.

This event was unique because internet technology permitted the scientists to have an intimate exchange of ideas while simultaneously sharing their discussions immediately throughout the world with colleagues in research and practice. The innovation of this approach sliced years from old models of knowledge dissemination. The dialogue, initiated with this conference, will continue with the inauguration of "Conversations on Society & Child Development," a CD\web-based interactive electronic publication designed to provide a resource and communications space for professionals, practitioners, policy makers, and academics working with young children, their families and their communities. Launch date was June 2002. For more information email [email protected] or visit www.acscd.ca.

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