Growing up Happy Kids – September 23, 2011

Edmonton, AB

Boys and Girls Club of Canada – Pacific/Western Regional Conference
Engagement Across the Continuum

How to Grow Happy Children: A Relationship for Life: In late September, Dr. Vanessa Lapointe will be travelling to Edmonton, Alberta to give the Key Note Speech at the Boys and Girls Club of Canada Pacific/Western Regional Conference. This year the Boys and Girls Club of Canada conference is focusing on how clubs can increase their impact in the community by strategically engaging with a broad spectrum of stakeholders

Vanessa’s keynote address focuses on the concept that the key to “growing” children who are emotionally healthy lies first and foremost in promoting rich and nurturing relationships between children and their caregivers. Such relationships help children to better able to manage their emotions, regulate their behaviour, and relate to the world around them. But what is it that nurtures the caregiver to be the best they can be for the child? What is it that nutures the program where the caregiver works so it can be the best it can be for the caregiver? And what is it tha nutures the community where the program runs so the community can be the best it can be for the program?

This address will begin by providing a foundation for our understanding of the vital attachment relationship between child and caregiver in terms of mental health and well-being. We will then explore an extension of the attachment relationship in terms of caregivers, programs, and communities to understand how, through the vital connections in these many layers of a child’s world, there is a “trickle down” effect that ultimately impacts each individual child’s attachment relationship with their caregiver. It is only through an understanding of how these “nested” layers of influence are “attached” to one another that we can truly meet each and every child’s right to the safety and long-term healthy outcomes of a wonderfully secure attachment relationship

Vanessa will also be be presenting a workshop on “Entering the Child’s World: The Importance of Play”. This workshop focuses on how play allows children to begin to understand what they observe in the world around them. By supporting and nurturing children in play, we open a world of opportunity for them to make sense of life. In this way, play is an essential part of promoting emotional wellness in young children. Play allows children to “access” feelings that they may not understand, and/or that may be uncomfortable, frightening, and upsetting. Once children are able to play out these themes, be it the stress of a recent move, the birth of a sibling, or other life happenings, they are able to begin processing their emotions and moving through their emotional upset to a place of calm understanding. The essential nature of play in emotional wellness, the developmental progression of play, and the role of adults in supporting healthy play will be discussed as part of this presentation. To truly understand children, we need to enter their world through the gateway of play.

Registration for the keynote address and workshop is now open through the Boys and Girls Club of Canada.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 to Friday, September 23, 2011