June 1, 2012, Burnaby, BC

Burnaby, BC

Aboriginal Headstart Program of BC

Key Note – Growing up Happy Children: The key role of relationships for children, programs, and communities in nurturing childhood mental health and well-being: 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 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 nurtures the program where the caregiver works so it can be the best it can be for the caregiver? And what is it that nurtures 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.

June 1, 2012