Pre-conference tours

Pre-conference part 1

Child-Friendly Communities ‘Walkshop’
Date: April 28th, 2017 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Meeting spot: 2725 Melfa Road, Social Room, Acadia Highrise (entrance: Western garden door).

Urban environments are significant determinants of children’s health and well-being. Increased urbanization and population growth have had major impacts on childhood. Exclusion of children from urban public spaces due to multiple factors, including increased traffic volumes and diminishing urban green space have resulted in decreases in children’s outdoor play, active transport, and increasingly sedentary and socially isolated lifestyles with detrimental effects on health and well-being. However, by incorporating children’s needs and rights into community development and planning cities can be developed in a child-friendly manner. Furthermore, when cities are planned with children as partners, this will have far more benefits than solely planning cities for children.

The Society for Children and Youth of BC’s Child-Friendly Communities ‘Walkshop’ is designed for professionals working with children and youth in diverse settings (e.g. teachers, after-school care leaders, early-childhood educators, youth workers). This 2.5-hour workshop will begin with a presentation on child rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). We will examine the various conceptualizations of childhood, and how these are reflected in the UNCRC. Next, we will briefly introduce the Child-Friendly Cities and Growing Up in Cities initiatives, and discuss the main indicators of child-friendly communities.

Following the presentation we will embark on a neighbourhood walking tour, providing a hands-on learning experience. During the tour, we will examine child-friendly aspects of the local community and assess how children’s needs and rights may be met or violated. The walking tour is a participatory method of neighbourhood evaluation, a children’s favorite, often combined with photo-voice, and generally conducted with school-age children. The tour will culminate with a 30-minute dialogue of our findings, an elaboration of this method, and a discussion of challenges and opportunities for applying it within early childhood education. 

10:00 Introductions & Workshop Overview
10:10 Presentation on Child Rights & Child-Friendly Communities
10:30 Walking Tour

  • Acadia Park Family Housing
  • Mid- and high-rise living around University Village
  • “The American Dream:” Detached house in the suburbs
  • Development: F-Block

12:00 Dialogue on opportunities & challenges for ECE
12:30 Optional Potluck Lunch – please bring a favourite dish to share with the group!

Pre-Conference part 2

Two UBC tours and a discussion

UBC Childcare Centres
Date: April 28th, 2017 2:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Meeting spot: UBC Childcare Services Building, 2881 Acadia Rd, Vancouver, BC V6T 1S1

This pre-conference will include a select group (limited to 40), on a first-come-first-serve basis of those who register to participate in two different tour experiences, culminating in an exciting discussion with an expert panel.

The first tour will be at the UBC Childcare Centers and will offer the group a chance to observe and experience some innovative ideas in practice. This will be followed by a presentation at UBC’s Infant Studies Centre that is internationally renowned for its work related to young children’s language acquisition. The evening will come together with an expert panel discussion, with Dr. Peter Moss, about the learnings from the tours. Light dinner will be provided. This pre-conference tour involves some walking.


Infant Studies Centre
Date: April 28th, 2017 4:00 PM – 5:15 PM
Location: UBC Department of Psychology, 2136 West Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4

Dr. Janet F. Werker, University Killam Professor, and Canada Research Chair, Psychology, is internationally known for her research investigating the perceptual foundations of language acquisition.

Janet and the members of her lab, the Infant Studies Centre, study infants from hours after birth up to toddlerhood using behavioral, electrophysiological (ERP), and non-invasive optical neural imaging using near-infrared-spectroscopy (NIRS). They study infants growing up in different language environments, infants growing up bilingual, and infants with, or at risk for, developmental disabilities. More recently, in collaboration, Janet has also begun exploring the nature of critical periods, and epigenetic processes that underlie developmental change.

Janet’s research questions have always been deeply motivated by their relevance to society and early childhood policymaking. As a result, she makes it a priority to share her research and its implications with broader scientific and public audiences, including organizations and interest groups working with children and families; paediatricians; audiologists; speech pathologists; and deaf educators.

 Janet co-founded the UBC Language Sciences initiative in 2015 and is currently Co-Chair of its Steering Committee. The initiative fosters collaboration and connections between researchers working in all areas of the language sciences and communicates this knowledge to both graduate and undergraduate students. In addition, the initiative is developing a pan-university, project-based undergraduate language sciences course which will be open to all UBC students; this innovative course will be the first of its kind at UBC and is set to be launched in Fall 2017!

Janet’s research lab, the Infant Studies Centre, is part of the UBC Early Development Research Group (EDRG).  Since 2004, the EDRG has been advancing knowledge of how language, learning, and social understanding develop in infants and children. It is composed of six research centers in UBC’s Department of Psychology, and in ongoing studies, their researchers are trying to answer many fascinating questions about how children learn at different stages of development.

Tour attendees will be guided through Dr. Werker’s laboratory, the Infant Studies Centre, which is an internationally recognized facility, optimized for infancy research and equipped with state-of-the-art technologies.  Across the Centre’s five testing rooms, researchers implement visual habituation and two-choice preferential looking tasks; the head turn preference (HPP) task; online eye-tracking equipment; near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) neuroimaging; and electroencephalogram (EEG) recording.


2:00 Meet at UBC Childcare Services Building
2:15 Introduction by Deb Thompson, Manager of Children’s Programs, UBC Childcare Services
2:30 Tour of a few UBC Childcare centers in small groups
3:30 Proceed as a group to next tour spot
4:00 UBC Infant Studies Centre, presentation, and demos by Janet Werker and her team
5:15 Proceed to Global Lounge, 2205 Lower Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T
5:30-7:00 Light dinner, and discussion with Peter Moss, Deb Thompson, and Janet Werker.