Lawson Foundation honours RRC’s Science of Early Child Development project

Early Child Education, Manitoba

Red River College’s Science of Early Child Development (SECD) project has received an award of honour from the Lawson Foundation for Innovation in Early Child Development.

The award recognizes the unique approach RRC has taken in creating multimedia “living textbooks” and online courses to ensure practitioners have the most current information at their fingertips so they can be at the forefront of early childhood education.

The award from the Lawson Foundation — a longtime supporter of SECD — will support necessary enhancements to the online resources and provide the College’s research team with important financial resources to undertake additional research.

“Not only will the financial gift support enhancing SECD, but we will use it to further promote awareness of the program, making it accessible to more practitioners and therefore to more families,” says Jan Sanderson, RRC research chair, Health Sciences and Community Services.

One of the many functions of SECD is to help train new childcare assistants in Manitoba. Currently, new childcare assistants are required to complete 40 hours of training in order to support the learning environment for young children. Through support from the Lawson Foundation, RRC will be able to take a closer look at how this training benefits new practitioners.

“We know the course is very successful and well-received by those practicing in the field — we hear many positive stories all the time,” says Sanderson. “This new funding will help us move beyond anecdotal evidence, to rigorous measurement of the impact of the training on the knowledge, attitudes and practice of childcare assistants. What we learn will help us to improve the existing resources and courses, and add to our repetorie.”

Since 2011, RRC has been a pioneer in developing leading research focused on early child development that has had an important impact across Canada, and in many international communities. Financial support for this initiative has relied on private and public funding from various organizations including the World Bank, the Winnipeg Foundation, the Aga Khan Development Network in Geneva, and the Lawson Foundation.

The Lawson Foundation is a national family foundation that invests in and engages with ideas, people and organizations that contribute to the wellbeing of children and youth and their development as active and engaged members of society.

The Science of Early Child Development is a knowledge translation and mobilization initiative with a global perspective that introduces and synthesizes transdisciplinary research underscoring the importance of the early years.