Alberta Early Years

Doing What’s Right: Through a Social Justice Lens

16-17

October 2017

Fantasyland Hotel & Conference Centre, Edmonton, Alberta

Doing What’s Right Through a Social Justice Lens

The Alberta Early Years Conference is a biennial event organized by volunteers from a number of organizations that serve and support young children and families. This advanced level conference examines best practice, research and application of strategies to support children and families.

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Doing What’s Right Through a Social Justice Lens

The Alberta Early Years Conference is a biennial event organized by volunteers from a number of organizations that serve and support young children and families. This advanced level conference examines best practice, research and application of strategies to support children and families. The conference participants include practitioners, advocates, parents, administrators, researchers, and policy makers. The conference program typically draws on the strength and expertise across a wide continuum – early education, psychology, pediatrics, biology, epidemiology, and other fields – whose work, taken together, has contributed to a varied and interdisciplinary examination of the early years of life.
The year 2017 is the 35th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Right and Freedom and this year, and the Alberta Early Years Conference will focus on how to effectively uphold and protect the rights of all children and families by examining, understanding and deconstructing our individual and collective lens. This year’s conference will provide practitioners and educators the opportunity to explore the lens from which they practice and the implications on their work with children and families.

Conference Ambassador The Honourable Landon Pearson

The Honourable Landon Pearson O.C. is a long-time advocate for the rights and well-being of children. From 1994 to 2005, Landon Pearson served in The Senate of Canada, where she became known as the Children’s Senator as well as the Senator for Children.

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Conference Ambassador The Honourable Landon Pearson

Ambassador’s Message 2017:

150 years ago Canada came together as a country and set out on a slow journey to become a rights-respecting nation that could be a model for the world. Progress has been slow. Over the years we made a number of serious errors particularly with respect to our Indigenous populations. And with women as well. Women had to struggle to get the vote and it was only in 1929 that, thanks to five feisty Alberta women, women in Canada were declared “persons” by the Privy Council of England! However, after the Second World War, the pace quickened with the creation of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and all the subsequent human rights conventions and treaties that Canada helped to craft including the Convention to End Discrimination Against Women. 35 years ago we adopted our very own Charter of Rights and Freedoms and just over 25 years ago we ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child with its cross-cutting principles of non-discrimination, survival, and development, best interests of the child and child participation all of which make the theme of this year’s conference, “Doing What’s Right; Through a Social Justice Lens”, particularly timely.
Now I know Canada will never be able to create a perfect world in which no child suffers and all children thrive but, at least, we can show the way because I truly believe that we are beginning to get it right. As a country, we got it wrong with the residential schools but we have apologized as we have for turning away Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany and for interning Japanese families after Pearl Harbour. We still get it wrong when large numbers of children continue to live in poverty, when we fail to provide adequate supports for struggling families or invest enough in early childhood care and education but things are slowly changing. As individuals, I know we get it wrong if we fail to protect a single vulnerable child and sometimes that is just not possible. But all of you who come to this conference have a chance in your work to get it right and I wish you all well.

Biography:

The Honourable Landon Pearson O.C. is a long-time advocate for the rights and well-being of children. From 1994 to 2005, Landon Pearson served in The Senate of Canada, where she became known as the Children’s Senator as well as the Senator for Children. (Link to Parliament of Canada biography, including full details of political experience and selected publications). In May 1996, Senator Pearson was named Advisor on Children’s Rights to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. In 1998 she became the Personal Representative of the Prime Minister to the 2002 United Nations Special Session on Children. She then coordinated Canada’s response to the Special Session entitled A Canada Fit for Children (link to report in pdf format and on the publications website of the Government of Canada).
As the wife of a Canadian diplomat she brought up their five children in five countries and learned first-hand about the challenges confronting the world’s children. She also learned to listen to her own. Prior to her appointment to the Senate of Canada in 1994, she had extensive experience as a volunteer with a number of local, national and international organizations concerned with children. As Vice-Chairperson of the Canadian Commission for the International Year of the Child (1979), she edited the Commission’s report, For Canada’s Children: National Agenda for Action. From 1984 to 1990, she served as President and then Chair of the Canadian Council on Children and Youth. She was a founding member and Chair of the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children from 1989 until she was summoned to the Senate.
Upon her retirement from the Senate in 2005, Landon Pearson moved with all her documents and papers to Carleton University where she directs a Resource Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children’s Rights that has been established in her name. The Landon Pearson Resource Centre is devoted to promoting the rights of children and youth through disseminating knowledge about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, mentoring students, sponsoring youth participation in a variety of settings, organizing lectures and seminars and coordinating a growing network of child rights scholars across Canada.
Landon Pearson's accomplishments in the field of childhood and children's rights are numerous and include the following recent developments:
Landon Pearson has published two books, Children of Glasnost (1990) and Letters from Moscow (2003).
She has authored articles on child-related issues and continues to write about and to lecture on children’s rights, especially the rights of children in difficult circumstances.
She has received many awards, including the Canada Volunteer Award in 1990 and several honourary doctorates (most recently - June 2011 - from York University - watch video on YouTube).
In 2005, she was one among 1000 women world wide nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her work on behalf of children (link to PeaceWomen Across the Globe, the global network of the 1000 women nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005).
In July 2008 Landon Pearson was appointed to the Order of Canada as an Officer.

Limited Conference Bursaries Available

The Muttart Foundation has a limited number of bursaries available to help staff or volunteers of registered charities attend this conference. For more information, please visit their page HERE, and for the online application, please go HERE.

Program

  • 8:30am
    Welcome and Introductions Bill Gordon Master of Ceremonies
  • 9:00am
    Keynote Speaker: Zeenat Janmohamed, PhD
  • 10:00am
    Health, Networking and Tradeshow Break
  • 10:30am
    Breakout Discussion groups with Zeenat and The Centre for Race and Culture Re: Social Justice in the Early Years
  • 12:00pm
    Lunch and Tradeshow
  • 1:00pm
    Breakout Sessions:A1, A2, A3, A4 - Check SESSION DESCRIPTIONS page for more information.
  • 4:00pm
    End Day One
  • 8:30am
    Welcome and Introductions Bill Gordon Master of Ceremonies
  • 9:00am
    Keynote Speaker: Dr. Sophie Yohani
  • 10:00am
    Health, Networking and Tradeshow Break
  • 10:30am
    Breakout Sessions:B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6 - Check SESSION DESCRIPTIONS page for more information.
  • 12:00pm
    Lunch and Tradeshow
  • 1:00pm
    Breakout Sessions:C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6 - Check SESSION DESCRIPTIONS page for more information.
  • 2:30pm
    Health and Networking Break
  • 2:45pm
    Keynote Speaker: Patti LaBoucane-Benson
  • 3:45pm
    Bill Gordon closing remarks and door prizes
  • 4:00pm
    End Day Two
Bill Gordon pic

Conference Master of Ceremonies Bill Gordon

A former teacher, counsellor and student leadership advisor with Elk Island Public Schools in Alberta, Bill has travelled across Canada speaking to thousands of students, educators and volunteers—including several visits to the Alberta Early Years Conference—on topics such as Powerful Leadership, Healthy Families & Children, The Things Children Need, and this favourite topic, The Power of Kindness. Bill is an active member of the volunteer community. He is President of the Fort Saskatchewan Rotary Club, and has been a member of the volunteer boards of the Alberta Coalition for Healthy School Communities, the Alberta Wellness Fund, and the Alberta Policy Coalition for Chronic Disease Prevention. He is currently the in-house ombudsman for the altView Foundation for Gender Variant and Sexual Minorities.

A winner of the Alberta Teachers’ Association award for outstanding school counsellor in Alberta, he is actually most proud of being married for forty nine years to his junior high school sweetheart, Jean, and of their teamwork in parenting two sons into adulthood where both have become educators, married to educators raising Bill and Jean’s three amazing grandchildren. His wife, Jean, is embarrassed to admit, however, that he has spent most of his life engaging in acts of creative silliness and living up to the nickname given to him by his former junior high school students, BILL “THE BIONIC TURKEY” GORDON.”

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