Keynote Presentations

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Keynote Presentations

Friday, October 16, 2015

7:00-8:00 pm

Margaret Norrie McCain Centre

Mount Saint Vincent University


Social Emotional Well Being in Early Childhood Education

The Honorable Margaret Norrie McCain 

Social-emotional wellbeing is the capacity to form secure relationships, understand and express emotions, get along with others and have a strong sense of self. Early childhood education benefits all young children but can be a game changer for children who struggle with their emotions and relationships with others. Quality early childhood education programs contribute to young children’s social-emotional well-being. They also offer resources to families that help them support their own and their children’s well-being. Getting it right from the start means nurturing young children and their families and identifying challenges early.

The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain received her early education in Quebec, Nova Scotia and Ontario, where she earned Bachelor of Arts degrees from Mount Allison University and the University of Toronto. She has also received honourary doctors of law degrees from several Canadian universities. Throughout her career, Mrs. McCain has been active in organizations that promote women's rights, social equality, education and the arts. She is the founding member of the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Foundation in New Brunswick whose mission is the elimination of family violence through public education and research. In 1994, Margaret was appointed the first female Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick.  Mrs. McCain was co-chair with Dr. Fraser Mustard of the highly regarded The Early Years Study: Reversing the Real Brain Drain(1999) and was the Children's Champion of the Voices for Children initiative.


Saturday, October 17, 1015

9:15-10:15 am

Seton Academic Centre Auditorium

Mount Saint Vincent University

06cda37Dr. Chaya Kulkarni, BAA, M.Ed. Ed.D

Moving Early Childhood Mental Health Practice into Early Learning and Care Settings

The quality of mental health experienced by a baby or toddler can have lifelong consequences, yet few understand how to recognize when infant mental health may be at risk and if so, how to intervene.  Many adverse outcomes can be prevented when caregivers are provided with the support and information that enables them to be optimally responsive to their infants and young children.  Well planned early intervention can promote positive outcomes, even in the face of diverse cumulative risk factors. We will address how early detection and rapid response by professionals working with young children in Early Learning settings can influence a child’s trajectory throughout life. We will identify and review the knowledge that practitioners need to have when working with this vulnerable population focusing on the impact of trauma. Furthermore, we will explore how the stress that accompanies trauma is associated with a very critical time in early brain development. Experiences in the early years of a child’s life have a direct relation to mental health and development in a child’s later life. 

Dr. Chaya Kulkarni is Director of Infant Mental Health Promotion (IMHP), a professional coalition dedicated to promoting optimal mental health outcomes for infants, based out of The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Chaya is also an Advisor to the Dolly Parton’s foundation, The Imagination Library, a member of the Board at Family Day Association and a part time professor at Seneca College in the Bachelor of Child Development program. Prior to joining IMHP Chaya was VP, Parent and Professional Education at Invest in Kids, and has also served as Senior Policy Analyst and Researcher for the Office of the Official Opposition, Queen’s Park

Sunday, October 18, 1015

9:15-10:15 am

Seton Academic Centre Auditorium

Mount Saint Vincent University


Mary Rella, BA, Dip. C.S

Elaborating our Conversations:  We Know what Young Children Need, But How do we Apply the Research to Our Work? 

How reliably do we apply research in out work, both within and across organizations?  Do infants, toddlers and preschoolers receive the care they need from one setting or sector to the next: from prevention, child care and early learning, through to child protection, clinical intervention and beyond?  It’s time to talk about the role we all have to play in promoting and supporting mental health and wellness in the early years, and our collective responsibility for applying the science and research of what we know to what we do, across all our settings. Best practices will be reviewed and strengthening competencies to increase accountability in multidisciplinary settings will be discussed.  

Mary Rella is the  Manager, Clinical Services of Yorktown Family Services, Toronto Mary leads the clinical teams to provide assessment, treatment and consultation services to infants, children, youth and their families. Mary has worked with families in clinical settings and Child Welfare for over 20 years. Mary participates in providing consultation to Child Welfare in the areas of parenting assessments, attachment assessments.  Mary’s professional focus is in the areas of: parent/child relationships and the repair of relational trauma. Mary has developed extensive training in the area of Therapeutic Access in conjunction with the Child Welfare System and she provides clinical consultation to mental health professionals as well as Children’s Aid professionals. Mary has a private practice specializing in working with individuals, families and couples.               


This conference has been organized by the Nova Scotia Child Care Association in partnership with Margaret and Wallace McCain Family Foundation, IWK Health Centre, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, and Mount Saint Vincent University

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