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The Inclusive Early Childhood Service System (IECSS) project is a longitudinal study interviewing families once per year over a 14 year period starting prior to school entry up to grade 3. The study is informed by a social relational theory of disability that recognizes that disablement is the result of an interaction between individual characteristics (such as genetic and environmental factors), social experiences (such as poverty and racialization), and access to community social capital (such as early intervention services, childcare, and culturally safe supports).

Our key methodological approach in this research is Institutional Ethnography (IE). The intention of IE is to understand institutional cultures and practices from a particular standpoint; in this case the activities of families. Institutional ethnography is concerned with how the rules of institutions shape everyday lives.

This project was developed through a partnership with community, academic and policy organisations. This partnership spans eight geographic areas: the County of Wellington (Ontario), District of Timiskaming (Ontario), City of Hamilton (Ontario), City of Toronto (Ontario), Constance Lake First Nation/Hearst (Ontario), Region of Peel (Ontario), Brandon (Manitoba), Comox Valley (British Columbia), Powell River (British Columbia), and Yellowknife (NWT). These partners offer diverse cultural perspectives encompassing different approaches to supporting families in rural, remote and urban communities. In addition, our partners bring service experience from the childcare, early intervention, health, development, and Indigenous service sectors.