In response to physical distancing, the Community Research Unit assists the Regina Early Learning Centre in adapting programming for online delivery

The Regina Early Learning Centre (ELC) is one of many organizations in Regina that has had to abruptly change the way they deliver their services because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ELC is a child and family development centre which works primarily with low income families to foster the healthy development of children from prenatal to five years of age.

Now thanks to funding from the University of Regina’s Community Research Unit and a partnership with Project Play YQR, the ELC is exploring creative ways to use social media and “crowd sourcing” from the community to continue to support families while they are more isolated in their home environments.

Monica Totton is the Early Years Family Resource Centre Coordinator for the ELC. “We have made some initial adjustments in how we are providing support to the families who rely on us for programs and services during this time of physical distancing, but we are very excited about this research funding from the Community Research Unit,” she says. “This will help us to more actively engage with families to determine more intentional ways to support them playing at home during this time of uncertainty. It will also allow us to extend our reach to the broader community and enhance our tool kits with ways to support families who are finding it challenging to be isolated at home with young children.”

Whitney Blaisdell, a graduate student in the Faculty of Education, is the lead researcher for the project and founder of Project Play YQR. Her master’s thesis (under the supervision of Dr. Marc Spooner) has focused on the barriers people face to play and what supports families need to experience the joy of play. “I look forward to working with the ELC to address the barriers to active play that have arisen because of the closure of most physical play spaces in the city,” said Blaisdell. “As a community we will be in the position to help each other get through this difficult period by facilitating conversations through social media about creative ways to play at home.”

The Community Research Unit was established in 2008 by a group of community-engaged scholars in the University of Regina Faculty of Arts whose goal was to connect the research needs of the communities they served with the research interests of faculty members and students.

12 April 2020

Watch a Global News story about how this partnership between the CRU, the Regina Early Years Centre, and Project Play YQR is helping meet changing community needs in the time of COVID-19. WATCH NOW>>

Read more about Faculty of Education graduate student Whitney Blaisdell and Project Play YQR, and its collaboration with the Community Research Unit. READ MORE>>>