Research Partnerships and Innovation

Research Partnerships & Innovation


Celebrating a Community of Change: new website supports vulnerable children and their caregivers

September 17, 2019

Today, Red River College (RRC) revealed a brand-new resource that highlights the potential for positive change that is released in a low-income community when their youngest citizens have access to intense early childhood services. Community of Change is a new website that demonstrates how changing vulnerable children’s early learning opportunities not only has a positive effect on them but creates a positive ripple effect on the adults around them.

The project is the result of a partnership between Red River College, Manidoo Gi-Miini Gonaan, and Healthy Child Manitoba. RRC received nearly $234,000 in funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) in 2016 to support new research examining how an early childhood intervention program influenced the parents and staff at the Lord Selkirk Park Child Care Centre.

“The funding we received from SSHRC allowed Red River College to bolster our leadership role in social innovation research and knowledge mobilization,” said Christine Watson, VP Academic, Red River College. “Projects like these highlight our ongoing and innovative work in the areas of health and social sciences – work we couldn’t do without the support of our partners and community.”

To celebrate the launch of Community of Change and to thank the families and staff who participated in the research project, RRC and its partners hosted a launch event at Turtle Island Neighbourhood Centre.

“It’s important for us to celebrate this work with those who helped shape it. The families who agreed to tell their stories are really at the core of this research project,” said Jan Sanderson, Research Chairperson for the Research School of Health Sciences at RRC.

“Many studies have demonstrated that young children living in economically challenged circumstances face an uphill battle to meet their developmental milestones and enter kindergarten ready for the education challenges ahead,” continued Sanderson. “Fortunately, research also tells us that we can change that trajectory by intervening early and providing services that support both young children and their parents. The project at Lord Selkirk Park is demonstrating exactly that. We have seen the ripple effect boost a child’s potential, and suddenly the parent is also engaged, motivated and inspired to explore their own developmental path. Kids benefit, families benefit, and the community grows stronger and healthier.”

To learn more about the project findings, visit

NSERC funding boosts Science of Early Child Development

November 14, 2018

Important research from the Science of Early Child Development (SECD) has received a funding boost from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), through the College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF).

SECD will receive $240,000 over two years for the research project “Science to Practice to Play: Transferring the Best of Early Child Development Evidence to Parents Through Integrated Health Equity Teams.”

“Through this NSERC grant, we now have the opportunity to put SECD to the test with NorWest Co-op Community Health Centre, located in the Inkster community area just moments from RRC’s Notre Dame campus,” said Jan Sanderson, research chair at RRC’s School of Health Sciences and Community Services. “The Nursing Department and the Research Team from Health Sciences and Community Services are very excited to be working right in the Inkster neighbourhood with an organization that is extremely committed to supporting families and improving the outcomes for young children in their community.”

Through a partnership between the College and NorWest Co-op, in collaboration with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and the Province of Manitoba, RRC researchers will deliver SECD training to a community health and social services team. The team will in turn develop and deliver consistent messages, skills and activities to parents of pre-school children in their Bright Start parent/child programs.

“With the collaboration of the WRHA and the provincial government, we hope to learn lessons that can be applied across Winnipeg and around the province,” said Sanderson. “As the project title – Science to Practice to Play – indicates, we will be examining the capacity of SECD as a training and planning tool that can transfer scientific evidence to health/social service professionals who will in turn convert it into engaging, educational activities to support parents – a child’s first and most important teacher. We plan to measure the impact of the intervention on the NorWest Co-op’s planning process, the impact on parents’ knowledge of early child development and their parent/child interactions, and the impact on the children’s development.”

Learn more about SECD here.

First-ever SECD International course: Featured fellows share their experiences

December 7, 2017

The first-ever 16-week Science of Early Child Development (SECD) International Course, co-facilitated by Red River College and Aga Khan University in Nairobi, recently came to an end this fall.
The course was a key component of the year-long World Bank Africa Early Years Fellowship, created for the purpose of assembling a select group of African professionals to work at capacity-building in their home countries, in support of governments and World Bank teams as they ramp up investments in early years resources.
Read about the experience here.

Manitoba Open Innovation Challenge: Early Childhood Literacy & Numeracy. Deadline, January 11

November 10, 2017

The need for innovation is everywhere. Every day we experience old systems, aging technology and traditional ways of thinking that hold us back from improving. There has to be a better way.
North Forge Technology Exchange is stepping in to address the big challenges that Manitoba faces, doing what they do best: innovating.
Through their Manitoba Open Innovation Challenge, North Forge wants to put the brilliant and diverse minds of our entire province to work on some of our biggest issues. Read More →

New SSHRC funding supports social innovation research into the impacts of positive learning environments

June 20, 2016

New funding for Red River College’s Science of Early Child Development program will help explore the impact of improved language and literacy skills on vulnerable children and their caregivers.
The nearly $234,000 in funding — from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s (SSHRC) Community and College Social Innovation Fund — will support new research to understand how changing at-risk children’s education environments can have a positive ripple effect on the adults around them.
The College will use the funds to expand current work studying the Abecedarian Approach, an internationally recognized intervention that creates a play-based, language-focused environment to promote development in at-risk kids from birth to age five.
“We believe an important part of the story is missing where the research focus is solely on child outcomes,” says Janet Jamieson, research chair for RRC’s Health Sciences and Community Services department. “While a child’s world is shaped by their environment and those around them, it should not be ignored that they in turn can have important impacts on those external elements.”
While there are plenty of studies demonstrating the success of the Abecedarian Approach on child development, very little has been documented on the effects had on adult caregivers of children enrolled in the program.
The College’s research is expected to play a meaningful role in informing policy, through insights into how evidence-based interventions with children in impoverished and challenged neighbourhoods could have positive impacts on families and communities.
“Evidence shows that the severe economic and societal challenges children from impoverished communities are faced with often lead to very poor outcomes in their development,” Jamieson explains. “These outcomes can be extremely disruptive for families and communities, which is why researching interventions such as the Abecedarian Approach is important.”
The College and its partners — Manidoo Gi Miini Gonaan and Healthy Child Manitoba — are currently involved in an Abecedarian intervention being implemented at Manidoo’s Lord Selkirk Park Children’s Centre in Winnipeg’s North End.
The new funding, announced Friday by Minister of Science Kristy Duncan, allows RRC to build on its local and international leadership role in social innovation research and knowledge mobilization.
“Red River College plays an important role in supporting social innovation, and our ongoing work in early child education continues to be recognized internationally for the positive impact it has made,” says Paul Vogt, president and CEO, Red River College.
“SSHRC’s support today will help us continue to connect with our valued partners to expand this research, as it’s crucial to communities in Manitoba, in Canada and around the world.”

RRC Polytech campuses are located on the lands of Anishinaabe, Ininiwak, Anishininew, Dakota, and Dené, and the National Homeland of the Red River Métis.

We recognize and honour Treaty 3 Territory Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, the source of Winnipeg’s clean drinking water. In addition, we acknowledge Treaty Territories which provide us with access to electricity we use in both our personal and professional lives.

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