Dr. Jessie-Lee McIsaac and our Early Childhood Collaborative Research Centre (ECCRC) team have been awarded a $271,903 grant through the Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC) Mental Health Promotion Innovation Fund. This funds aims to support mental health promotion projects with a focus on reducing systematic barriers for vulnerable populations. The grant will support the ECCRC’s program titled Engaging families in positive solutions for social-emotional learning during early childhood, which is led by Dr. Jessie-Lee McIsaac and partnered with Nova Scotia Early Childhood Development Intervention Services (NSECDIS).
Positive Solutions for Families (PSF) is a population-level intervention originally developed by the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL). PSF is designed to develop family protective factors for mental health promotion through parenting strategies that focus on building supportive environments for social and emotional learning during early childhood. This project will adapt, implement and evaluate the PSF program. PSF is a complementary program to the Pyramid Model for Supporting Social Emotional Competence in Infants and Young Children.
PSF is delivered through online or in-person sessions. Sessions include activities such as group discussions, evidence-based practice and role-play and cover topics such as building relationships, strategies to promote positive behaviour and play as a powerful parenting practice. The program will be facilitated by existing staff from the NSECDIS, who provide province-wide specialized services to families of young children between birth and school entry, who either have a biological risk for or a diagnosis of developmental delay. The research includes an evaluation of the PSF sessions through surveys, training evaluation forms, and interviews. The research will be conducted with families participating in the training sessions and with the facilitators who are delivering the training. In addition, the project will support knowledge exchange by creating regional and provincial opportunities to exchange lessons learned in the implementation of the intervention. The project will also explore the interest, feasibility and cultural appropriateness of the intervention in Mi’kmaq and newcomer communities.
The goal of our PSF project is to build a sustainable, population-level program to develop family protective factors for mental health promotion through a focus on building supportive environments for social and emotional learning during early childhood. Our mission is to implement and evaluate the Positive Solutions for Families project in Nova Scotia. To date, we have implemented the PSF project in three different regulated child care centres in the province and aim to expand into 5 additional centres in 2021. A stand alone PSF website with resources, content and accessible sessions is also aimed to launch in 2021.
For more information about this project, contact the following:
Dr. Jessie-Lee McIsaac
Jenny Gillis (Project Coordinator)
Marla Smith (Research Coordinator)