Mobilizing Knowledge to Give Children and Families the Best Start: Research and Knowledge Mobilization Sub-Committee of Durham’s Best Start Network

This week’s guest post comes from Darren Levine, Manager of the Innovation and Research Unit in the Social Services Department of the Regional Municipality of Durham, on behalf of the Research and Knowledge Mobilization Sub-Committee of Durham Region’s Best Start Network.

Durham Region logoOver the past several months, the Research and Knowledge Mobilization Sub-Committee of Durham Region’s Best Start Network has begun to mobilize local EDI (Early Development Instrument) data to inform practice across Durham’s early learning community. This sub-committee is comprised of representatives from The Region of Durham’s Social Services Department, Innovation and Research Unit, and Health Department, local academic organizations including the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Durham College, and community agencies.

EDI data is gathered every several years to examine school readiness in young children and is led by the Offord Centre. Following each gathering of the data, a research report is written and is used to inform planning. Our sub-committee has taken recent EDI research and, earlier this month, completed our first two resources – an at-a-glance poster to be placed on the walls of early learning centres, and a two page “research-to-practice” highlight to be circulated amongst early learning professionals. These resources translate areas of the EDI that suggest opportunities for improvement into tangible, evidence-informed strategies for early learning professionals. These initial prototype resources have been very well received and we have begun to receive requests to put up the posters and distribute the summaries in early learning and childcare centres across Durham Region.

We are very excited and, in the new year our sub-committee will be scaling up to translate and mobilize other parts of Durham Region’s EDI data into tangible products for early childhood professionals, as well as explore digital platforms to support and enhance this work. We will also be exploring ways in which we might evaluate the impact of our work. Equally exciting is the very strong academic-community relationships that have been formed, and the shared leadership to co-create these resources that has emerged from all members of our sub-committee. Knowledge mobilization is truly a team effort!

Our sub-committee could not have gotten here without inspiration and all that we have learned from York University’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit!

Members of this sub-committee include:

Darren Levine – Innovation and Research Unit, Durham Region Social Services Department (Co-Chair)
Ann LeSage, University of Ontario Institute of Technology (Co-Chair)
Alison Burgess, University of Ontario Institute of Technology
Denise Cashley, Resources for Exceptional Children and Youth, Durham
Erin O’Dacre, Durham Farm and Rural Family Resources
Gloria Duke-Aluko, Innovation and Research Unit, Durham Region Social Services Department
Jackie Dick, PRYDE Early Learning Centres
Jane Thompson, YMCA of Greater Toronto
Jason Warga, Resources for Exceptional Children and Youth, Durham
Julie Gaskin, Durham Region Children’s Services
Karen Chartier, Lake Ridge Community Support Services
Laura Stephan, Innovation and Research Unit, Durham Region Social Services Department
Lorraine Closs, Durham College
Mary Lennon, Lake Ridge Community Support Services
Nicole Doyle, Durham College
Pam Douglas, Durham College
Susan Mace, Durham Region Heath Department
Taryn Eickmeier, Durham Region Children’s Services
Terra Mucci, Resources for Exceptional Children and Youth, Durham
Tracey Hull-Gosse, Durham College

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