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Parent Cafe – The Early Years


“The café was life changing. I can’t imagine how much it has impacted the lives of my kids and the whole family alike. I feel sorry for all the moms that never had a programming like this offered to them. It’s that good!”  – Café Participant

Parent Café – The Early Years

A Parent Café creates a space for the important adults in a child’s life to care, connect and learn together through conversation. Parent Café is an adaptable resource to spark and support strength-based conversations around how we can best support healthy development, literacy and learning.

Through intentional conversation we can: 

  • Care and share – meet one another person to person.
  • Honor and respect individual experiences and the wisdom of the group.
  • Acknowledge key role of parents, caregivers and community.
  • Validate successes, strengths and capacities in ourselves and others.
  • Share local resources, tools and information.
  • Foster relationships and mutual support.
  • Learn about quality resources, emerging research and knowledge.
  • Apply this knowledge to personal contexts and experiences.
  • Be inspired and supported to act.

The early years conversations are organized in a suggested series of four conversation topics, drawing on four key elements of the “core story” of brain development. Each theme includes a series of questions along with key ideas in the Conversation Guide, as well as Hosting Notes that provide hosting background knowledge and additional resources for sharing with participants. Parent Cafe is not a program or a recipe,but a resource designed for flexibility and adaptability for use in many different contexts.

Cafe themes:

  • Building a Strong Foundation
  • Relationship and Serve and Return
  • A Supportive Environment for Development
  • Skills for Life and Learning: Executive Function and Self-Regulation
  • Supporting Early Literacy

Accessing The Conversation Guides

Cafe offers ongoing orientations or custom sessions for your agency, school, or community-based. Those who participate in the Parent Cafe hosting session can purchase printed resource manuals and access electronic guides for ease of access to live links and current research and resources. Please contact Cafe for further information on booking or accessing an orientation workshop.

Parent Café offers a comprehensive package of tools, resources and background research to make the role of hosting as easy and accessible as possible. This includes:

  • A Parent Café hosting guide.
  • A complete set of conversation cards together with accompanying hosting notes.
  • A consolidation of research and best practice supporting each question and topic.
  • At-a-glance planning, hosting and learning resources.
  • Forms for gathering participant learning and feedback.

Become a Cafe Host

Would you like to make a difference in the lives of young children and families in the community? Are you a parent leader, community educator or caregiver with an interest in bringing parents and/or caregivers together to share their thoughts and experiences for supporting childrens’ early development and learning?  Are you already working to support parents and caregivers of young children and are looking for further resources?  Please Contact Cafe to find out more about joining the conversation!

Evaluation for Learning

Ongoing reflection offers an opportunity to learn and grow in our work, both individually and collectively. Café invites all hosts to be a part of the Parent Cafe learning community and collaborative resource.We ask  feedback from your conversation participants as well as your hosting experience. Orientation hosts will guide you to our online questionnaires – your input is valuable to us!

  • Parent Cafe:  Early Years Parent Café Particpant Reflections and Evaluation
  • Parent Café:  Early Years Host Reflections and Evaluation

Café thanks our collaborative partners at  First 2000 Days Early Childhood Development Network, Ready 4 Learning and Calgary Reads who have provided resources, expertise and inspiration for exploring together the incredible opportunity of the early years. Consolidated research on the developing brain from Palix Foundation, Alberta Centre for Wellness along with Harvard Centre on the developing child, along with other quality resources has informed this work. Watch for upcoming conversation themes focusing further on the social and emotional domains of development along with play and physical health and wellness.