Open letter – 6th Annual Early Childhood Week: Spotlight on Prevention and Creating Caring Communities

On the occasion of the 6th edition of the Early Childhood Week, the IBCR commits itself in an open letter alongside its allies of the Early Childhood Collective. This year, it focuses on prevention and caring as well as on the necessary follow-up to the recommendations of the Laurent Commission report.

Here is an extract:

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.”[1] 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.

Read the open letter

The open letter of the 6th edition of the Early Childhood Week was published in several Quebec dailies, including Le Soleil, Le Nouvelliste, La Tribune, Le Quotidien, Le Droit.