OKN’s Indigenous Reconciliation initiative considers Truth and Reconciliation as two distinct entities, as illustrated above. Learn more about this graphic in our Indigenous Reconciliation Strategy.

Children spend a great deal of their first 8 years learning in schools, thus, how schools connect to their community is important. Progress in this area will show good connections between schools, parents, community resources and the local neighbourhood.

  • Parental involvement in schools
  • Youth as resources
  • Volunteerism
  • Community use of schools
Children thrive in neighbourhoods that are safe and connected. Neighbourhoods that can meet all of our needs are valued.

  • Neighbourhood safety
  • Neighbourhood cohesion
  • Walkability
  • Caring for the community
Safe environments benefit children by providing a sense of personal security that allows them to take maximum advantage of learning, playing and making new friendships.

  • Child care capacity
  • Quality child care
  • Parenting capacity
  • Parental monitoring
  • Quality time at home with family
Safe environments benefit children by providing a sense of personal security that allows them to take maximum advantage of learning, playing and making new friendships.

  • Serious injury
  • At-risk behaviours
  • Safety from harm
All children need positive connections to their parents/caregivers, peers, school and community.

  • Supportive and caring environments
  • Boundaries and expectations
  • Commitment to learning
  • Positive values
  • Social competencies

Learning is one of the cornerstones for success in life and starts at birth. Community progress for this result will show that children are learning both in their preschool and school years.

  • Preschool learning opportunities
  • Student achievement (EQAO)
  • Healthy body weight
  • School engagement

Good health is a prerequisite for positive outcomes for children and youth. Both physical and emotional health are valued in this result. In addition, given the critical brain development that takes place in the first 12 months of life, infant health is closely monitored.

  • At-risk births
  • Healthy eating
  • Healthy body weight
  • Physical activity
  • Mental health

Early Years 8 Areas of Focus

The purpose of this paper is to provide professionals, working with infants/young children and their families, with common messages focused on early social-emotional development which contributes to positive mental health and well-being. Download the Social-Emotional Development in the Early Years: A Common Message Paper (2nd Ed.).

A shared understanding of the experiences, resources and protective factors that foster healthy social-emotional development strengthens our collective ability to:

  • Provide caregivers with information and resources to promote their infant/young child’s healthy social-emotional development
  • Identify when infants/young children would benefit from additional help and support
  • Mitigate factors that can negatively impact an infant/young child’s social-emotional development
  • Ensure that infants/young children and/or their caregivers are linked to the right people providing the right services at the right time

The 8 areas of focus that promote healthy social-emotional development and their related messages can be used to:

  • Increase awareness of the importance of the early years in providing the foundation for mental health and well-being
  • Orientate, educate and align a shared understanding of factors that contribute to optimal social-emotional development
  • Tailor marketing and/or communication strategies promoting social-emotional well-being

Summary fact sheet: The 8 Areas of Focus

Moving from Knowledge to Practice

The EYMHC has developed a brief overview for each of the eight areas of focus, highlighting learning and talking points as well as linking to specific resources that can be shared with colleagues and/or families.


Brain Development & the Environment
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Stress & Brain Development
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Executive Function
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Positive Caring Relationships
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Icon of children playing
Icon of mother holding child

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