November 11, 2021
Open letter - 6th Annual Early Childhood Week: Spotlight on Prevention and Creating Caring Communities
6th Annual Early Childhood Week: Spotlight on Prevention and Creating Caring Communities
The Special Commission on Children’s Rights and Youth Protection, otherwise known as the Laurent Commission, issued a series of recommendations in May 2021. It is these recommendations that are the inspiration behind the focus of this year’s 6th annual Early Childhood Week (ECW). The Collectif petite enfance, the entity behind ECW, has pledged to keep a close eye on the actions taken in response to the Commission’s report, specifically as they relate to creating caring communities and prevention. Therein lies the key.
Giving a voice to our young children
Early Childhood Week aims to give a voice to the 534,000 children 5 and under in Quebec in order to make early childhood development a true priority for our society. We must shine the spotlight on their needs and on the importance of supporting them from the womb through their first five years of life to make sure they have the right tools to grow and thrive. That is what ECW is all about.
As economist Pierre Fortin recently reminded us, “Early childhood is the most important stage of development, as the three scientific disciplines of neurology, psychology and economy unequivocally hold up as truth.” Today more than ever, we need to step up our efforts to improve young children’s living conditions by taking preventive action — “Agir en prévention,” as the title of the second chapter of the Commission’s report puts it.
What does prevention mean exactly?
Prevention, as a general concept, refers to eliminating or reducing risk factors that contribute to the likelihood of a problem developing, while strengthening individual and collective capacities to cope with stress and adversity. Preventing abuse involves putting in place the individual, family, community, economic and social conditions conducive to healthy parent-child relationships. Put simply, a preventive approach is the pillar upon which we can build caring communities for our babies, toddlers and preschoolers.
Enhancing economic support for families is the first of several preventive strategies to be deployed. But it is also important to work to change social norms to promote parental support and foster positive parent practices. Stronger parenting skills inevitably translate to better and more harmonious development pathways for children. To help ensure young children have access to the best possible living conditions and uphold our collective responsibility to protect the youngest members of our society, we need to break down the silos that separate us.
As regards abuse, harm reduction is essential to preventing future risk. It is critical to see to it that, in the years from birth to kindergarten, as many children as possible can grow up in a family environment free of coercive control, violence, abuse and neglect. Dialogue and collaboration are more crucial than ever in these situations.
Working together to support our youngest Quebecers
Prevention needs to be the cornerstone of all public policy addressing early childhood matters. By joining forces, the members of the Collectif petite enfance, their partners and allies, and our elected officials can make a real difference in the lives of young children and continue building on these gains moving forward. Protecting children takes a collective commitment to sharing knowledge and pooling expertise. This is the key to creating the caring communities they unquestionably need and deserve.
Let’s all support the development of young children across Quebec.
Director, Collectif petite enfance
General Manager, Association pour la santé publique du Québec
General Manager, Association Québécoise des centres de la petite enfance
Full professor and scientific director of Quality in early childhood education research team, University of Quebec at Montreal
Managing Partner, Woods LLP
Doctor of Psychology, Professor-Researcher, Université du Québec à Montréal
General Manager, Fondation Olo
Professor, Université du Québec à Montréal
Education lecturer, Université du Québec à Montréal
Snowboarding Olympian and ESIM program manager, Montreal Sport Council
President, Lucie and André Chagnon Foundation (Naître et grandir / Early Childhood Observatory)
Actress and columnist
General Manager, Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec
Emeritus Professor of Economics, UQAM
Executive Director, Marie-Vincent Foundation
Executive Director, Fédération québécoise des organismes communautaires Famille
President, Centrale des syndicats du Québec
CEO, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec
Full Professor, Université du Québec à Montréal
Consultant and co-author of the 2019 Agir pour que chaque tout-petit développe son plein potentiel
Executive Director, Community Health and Social Services Network
Dr Gilles Julien
President, Dr Julien Foundation
Full Professor, University of Quebec, Trois-Rivières
Executive director, Quebec Public Library Association
Director General, International Bureau for Children’s Rights
General Manager, Réseau des Centres de Ressources Périnatales du Québec
Co-Founder, athlete and speaker, Le Grand défi Pierre Lavoie
President and Chief Executive Officer, Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal
Former Vice-President, Special Commission on the Rights of the Child and Youth Protection
President, LS4 / LSR GesDev
General Manager, Conseil québécois des services éducatifs à la petite enfance
Executive director, Espace MUNI
President and CEO, Foundation of Greater Montréal
Directrice générale, Réseau québécois pour la réussite éducative
Volunteer board member, Association d’éducation préscolaire du Québec
Vice president, Analysis Group
Executive Director, Montreal Dietetic Dispensary
President, Ordre des optométristes du Québec
Co-founder and General Manager, Regroupement Partage
Representative, ‘’Les Instances Régionales de Concertation pour la petite enfance’’
Executive Director, La Maison Bleue
General Manager, First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission
Olympian (goalkeeper), Manager Business Development, BOKS Canada
General Manager, Association des haltes-garderies communautaires du Québec
President, Réseau FADOQ
Full professor, certified planner, École d’urbanisme et d’architecture de paysage, Université de Montréal
Executive VP - Québec, Énergir
Coordinator, Observatoire Famille Immigration, Alliance des communautés culturelles pour l’égalité dans la santé et les services sociaux
Corinne Vachon Croteau
General Manager, Réseau pour un Québec Famille
General Manager, Regroupement pour la Valorisation de la Paternité