Mary Gordon honoured 

Every year, The Canadian Insitute for Child Health (CICH) holds the Crayons and Cravats Gala to recognize those who have made a significant contribution to the health and well-being of children. This year, Mary Gordon, founder of Roots of Empathy, was honoured with a National Child Day Award for her "dedication to raising children's social and emotional competence, breaking cycles of violence and improving parenting".

Roots of Empathy cultivates empathy and respect in children thorugh interactions with babies. The Honourable Landon Pearson comments that "the wisdom of babies can teach us-- and our children--  to be human."  Others have commented that sowing the seeds of empathy in children will build a more civil society and even lead to world peace. You can learn more about Roots and Empathy and its founder Mary Gordon, by visiting:

If you live with, work with or care about children, CICH's work over the past 25 years has probably impacted you in some way. CICH is dedicated to monitoring, educating and advocating for children's health. They focus their work around five pillars: acting as a voice for Canadian children, supporting healthy pregnancy and childbirth, fostering healthy child development, ensuring our environment is safe for children, and monitoring the state of children's health.  (Please note: if you open the links to any of these pages, you will need to scroll down to see the information) 


Great New Resources for Parents Launched by Alberta Health Services

By Ilene Fleming

Yesterday, I participated in the launch of “Healthy Parents Healthy Children” by Alberta Health Services. Every parent wants to do their best to raise a healthy child and the resources launched will provide support and guidance for families.

I was delighted to be asked to participate as a parent, because being Olivia’s mom brings me so much joy. Since Olivia was born, almost three years ago, I’ve experienced enormous growth as a parent. I’ve also been bombarded with plenty of advice and opinions (sometimes unsolicited and even contradictory!) about how to parent. I had no idea just how complex the parenting role would be! So, it’s wonderful to have this trusted source of information to support me, support Olivia.

The resources launched include a website and two comprehensive books: “Pregnancy and Birth” and “The Early Years.” I like that I can go online and search for information, whenever I need it. For instance, I can find out how to encourage healthy eating or good sleeping habits and what to do to support transitions that our whole family experiences as Olivia grows.  

The books are comprehensive and cover topics I hadn’t even considered, like:  when do I start flossing Olivia's teeth?  I love that there are pictures, quotes and suggested activities for us to support her next stage of development.  

It’s good to know that if I have a concern about Olivia’s development or if I need help, there is a list of additional resources! I can find out what to do and where to call. This information can be found in the books, under the section “Where to go for more information” and online as well.

And, I am so happy that there are reminders for parents to take care of ourselves. Sometimes this is the hardest thing to do, but healthy parents are a key ingredient for healthy children. And, in order to do our best, we all need support as parents.

I encourage all parents to check out these new resources and share them with others in your community. Helping parents feel connected and supported is a wonderful way to support children.

Photo (L-R):  AHS Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Richard Musto; Director of Community Building and Investment for Children and Youth, Success By 6, United Way, Ilene Fleming; Director, Healthy Children and Families at Alberta Health Services, Maureen Devolin; Executive Director, Healthy Living, Population and Public Health, AHS, Sara Jordan; Associate Minister of Wellness, Dave Rodney



Supportive Workplaces Foster Work-Life Balance

Returning to work after having a baby can be a stressful experience for parents. For months prior to my return, I dreaded the thought of leaving my son. My first full day back I felt torn about leaving him in the care of someone else, not to mention guilty. I pictured him crying and screaming as I walked out the door of his dayhome. As the weeks went on it did get easier, but one thing that helps immensely is having a supportive employer who is understanding and willing to accommodate a flexible work schedule. I made the decision to return to work four days a week, which has allowed me to maintain a healthy work-life balance and helped make the back to work transition a lot smoother for my family.

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Dr. Clyde Hertzman - A Champion for Children 

It is with sadness that we mourn the loss of Dr. Clyde Hertzman. Dr. Hertzman was a champion and advocate for the importance of early childhood development, social justice and for the elimination of poverty.

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Learning doesn’t begin when we start school – it begins at birth

When most people hear the word “education” they immediately think of school, usually starting with kindergarten. But the truth is, learning doesn’t begin when we start school – it begins at birth.

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15 Minutes of Fun - Family Literacy Day January 27th

As an early childhood professional, Family Literacy Day has always been an important date to remember and an opportunity to share information with the families I work with. For the past two years however, this day has had more personal significance for me as the parent of a young child.

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