It started as a way to reduce the gap between early childhood education and research. Today, RRC Polytech’s Science of Early Child Development (SECD) initiative has impacted the work of early childhood educators (ECEs) both here in Canada and on a global scale.
“There’s been a massive explosion in neuroscience and understanding of the child’s brain and how that has informed early brain development,” says Jamie Koshyk, a research faculty member in the School of Health Sciences and Community Services at RRC Polytech.
“These new discoveries impact your life. It’s a lifelong trajectory that starts very early on.”
SECD began as a partnership between RRC Polytech, the Atkinson Centre at the University of Toronto and the Aga Khan Development Network. It’s what’s known as a “dynamic knowledge mobilization initiative” — essentially, bridging complex research on understanding a child’s brain and turning that research into resources and courses that professionals and students can easily understand.
“By the time a researcher has a discovery and gets it into a textbook, it’s a process of a number of years,” says Elin Ibrahim, who leads the SECD initiative. “The whole idea of having it online and having it continually updated — and current — was attractive, and one of the major reasons that it all got started.”
Today, the SECD initiative includes four “living textbooks,” as the initiative calls them, which use a multimedia approach to share information. They include expert interviews, images, video examples of children, parents and caregivers, slideshows, websites, readings, questions for reflection, interactive games, activities and much more. It’s a modern way of learning and one that’s in high demand.
“In each of the modules, there’s always an overview, a research section and then there’s links to practice,” says Ibrahim. “That was another goal of ours: to look at how to make research practical. To do that, we organize it through different topics and modules, but also to bring in the practical — both for those working with early childhood students and for anyone working with children.” Read More →