Who We Are
Institute for Professionals Using Centre-Based Interventions with High-Risk Families

This Institute is designed for early childhood educators working with high-risk families and their young children in child care centres. Professionals will enhance their skills and knowledge of early intervention and prevention strategies within the context of the child care setting (and the opportunities and limitations such a setting offers). This Institute blends current research and practice over 3 days and explores such topics as risk and protective factors, child development, centre-based intervention strategies, cultural sensitivity, and implications for daily programming for groups of children.

The Institute is designed to address the unique opportunities available to early childhood educators in child care centres. Front-line staff in child care settings will have their understanding of the kinds of interventions they can offer a child, who may be living in a circumstance of high risk, enhanced. The structure of the child care environment along with the expertise of staff are an effective way to provide intervention and prevention strategies for high risk children and their families.

Institute Features:
The Institute provides a rich and engaging learning environment that includes:
  • A comprehensive manual prepared by Canadian experts in early childhood education, early intervention, child development, and family support.
  • Evidence based strategies for centre based interventions.
  • References to additional information and resources.
  • Diverse learning formats including group work, expert presentation, video analysis, case studies and professionally designed simulations.
  • Customized to reflect provincial programs and structures by IKF Training Specialist and experts.
  • Delivered by a blend of Invest in Kids Foundation and provincially-based experts.
Institute Goals:
  • To raise the level of knowledge and skills of professionals who work with high-risk families with young children in a child care setting.
  • Affirm the valuable role of the early childhood educator in the lives of families.
  • Enhance the competency of professionals in collaborating, gaining access to resources, and working in an interdisciplinary way to benefit families.
  • Facilitate the integration of new insights, knowledge, and skills in participants' own practice of identifying, reaching, engaging, and building effective relationships with high-risk families.


  1. Setting the Context
    • An introduction to the manual and the format
    • A focus on children living in circumstances of risk
    • Care, Education or Intervention – Or all Three?
    • How Early Childhood Professional’s (ECP) work with children, parents, and other professionals

  2. Caring for Ourselves
    • Understanding the role in caring for ourselves
    • Defining self care
    • Identifying personal, professional and organizational stress factors
    • Professional stressors specific to families living in circumstances of risk
    • Organizational strategies to minimize stress factors
    • Develop a plan for self care and professional development

  3. Assessing Risk & Protective Factors
    • ECP’s role in assessing risk and protective factors
    • Review of research about risk and protective factors
    • Factors directly affecting development in the early years
    • Implications for practice

  4. Healthy Child Development
    • Roles and responsibilities of the ECP in healthy child development
    • Understanding facts about healthy child development
    • Topics covering areas such as, brain development, emotional development, cognitive development, social development
    • Promoting healthy development through everyday activities: Comfort, Play & Teach

  5. Challenging Behaviours
    • Roles and responsibilities of the ECP in managing challenging behaviour
    • Developmental stages of behavioural growth and their characteristic challenges
    • Definitions and causes of challenging behaviours
    • Different categories of emotional dysfunction
    • Specific practice techniques

  6. Diversity
    • Roles and responsibilities of the ECP in teaching and understanding diversity
    • Personal values and beliefs and how they affect perceptions and learning about the diversity of family functioning
    • Implications for practice

  7. Observation, Screening & Assessment
    • Roles and responsibilities of ECPs in observation, screening and assessment
    • Principles of observation, screening and assessment
    • How information from observation, screening and assessment help to respond to a child’s development
    • Strategies for use of the results from the observation, screening and assessment tools

  8. Interdisciplinary Practice
    • Roles and responsibilities of the ECP in interdisciplinary practice
    • Benefits of collaboration for the family and the service provider
    • Principles and goals of interdisciplinary practice
    • Aspects of interdisciplinary meetings and conferences
    • Factors that enable and pose challenges to interdisciplinary practice

  9. Engaging Parents
    • Roles and responsibilities of the ECP in understanding and engaging families
    • Strategies to engage families
    • Relationship building skills
    • Knowledge, skills and personal qualities necessary for engaging families living in circumstances of risk

  10. Interventions & Family Support Strategies
    • ECP’s role in supporting and intervening with families
    • Framework, focus, essential principles and guidelines for interventions with families
    • Intervention strategies for families living in circumstances of risk

  11. Teen Parenting
    • Interacting with teen parents and their families
    • Factors that may affect teens who are pregnant and/or parenting
    • Strategies to engage the young parent
    • Strategies for strengthening the adolescent’s parenting competencies

  12. Family Violence & the Young Child
    • Roles and responsibilities of the ECP when family violence is discovered in the program
    • Defining family violence
    • The effects of family violence on child development
    • Identifying the focus of intervention and intervention approaches to help children and parents living with family violence
    • Developing a Safety Plan to assist and protect victims of family violence

An Institute for Child Care Professionals Working with High Risk Children
Session One
Oct 23-25, 2003
Calgary, AB
$650 per person

Session Two
Nov 20-22, 2003
Toronto, ON
$650 per person
Please contact Claire Woolford at ([email protected]) for more information.