Project focuses on heart-mind health

West Vancouver community agencies focused on children are continuing to collaborate to cultivate kindness and compassion in the early years.

The Heart-Mind Project in West Vancouver is an initiative of the West Vancouver Child and Family Hub, a partnership of a host of community agencies (including the District of West Vancouver and Vancouver Coastal Health) working to promote the healthy development and well-being of families and young children, and the Vancouver-based Dalai Lama Centre for Peace and Education.

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Initially a pilot, West Vancouver was one of seven B.C. communities chosen to participate. The community's interest in the project was the result of findings from 10 years worth of data from the Early Development Instrument, a developmental survey regularly completed by teachers across the province, and the Human Early Learning Partnership at the University of British Columbia, which developed a Heart-Mind Index with the Dalai Lama Centre, using the survey results. The index is focused on children's social and emotional (heart-mind) well-being.

"We're curious about how we can ensure that we are maximizing opportunities for growth and development for young families so that every child has equal, enriching opportunities to grow socially and emotionally," says Sandra-Lynn Shortall, district principal of early learning at the West Vancouver School District.

"Being a caring community and a compassionate community, we're very, very eager to work with this data and to work with our community to ensure that we're creating optimal opportunities for young children and for families," she says.

Those involved with the West Vancouver Child and Family Hub Heart-Mind Project are continuing to target local children five and under by participating in West Vancouver community events, as well as offering workshops and resources to families with young children, and those working with them.

The project will be showcased at the upcoming Ready, Set, Learn event at West Vancouver Community Centre. Ready, Set, Learn is a B.C. Ministry of Education program.

The West Vancouver School District and its community partners are presenting Ready, Set, Learn Saturday, April 26, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the West Vancouver Community Centre. The free morning of learning and activity is designed for parents and their threeand four-year-olds. Early learning resource kits will be available.

Representatives of the Heart-Mind Project will be running a Kindness Room. Visitors can engage in a community art project, music circles, co-operative games, storytime, and other activities focused on heart-mind well-being. For more information, visit or

The North Vancouver School District is also offering a number of upcoming Ready, Set, Learn events. Visit for complete event listings.

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