Building Resilience in Children and Youth

Leadership Strategy for Resilience


The purpose of the leadership strategy is to support system and school leaders in building capacity to support resilience.

The Leadership Strategy was developed as a key outcome of The Learning Partnership initiative that began in 2006, with a national conference to examine the issue of Students at Risk. As participants discussed the factors that put 30% of Canadian children at risk and exchanged information about successful ways to intervene, one question kept surfacing:  Why do some at-risk youth defy the odds?  A common attribute of resilience was identified.

As a follow up, The Learning Partnership, together with eight provinces and territories, coordinated regional roundtables across the country, culminating in a National Dialogue on Resilience in Youth in Winnipeg in November, 2008 for senior decision-makers, educators, and researchers .

Key recommendations for protective strategies that foster resilience resulted from these discussions.  Common themes
included(i) resilience is a capability of every child (ii) supportive environments that include caring relationships, high expectations and opportunities for participation in the community are very important. 

Building on this extensive experience and with the support of the Ontario Government an Advisory Committee of district school board representatives and community agencies was established in 2009.

Based on their advice, The Learning Partnership initiated a provincial consultation with senior education leaders in all
Ontario school boards.  The goal of the initiative was to develop a leadership strategy that can be used by senior system
and school leaders to build system and school capacity in order to foster resilience for children and youth.

A project Steering Committee including superintendents and directors who represented the Public, Catholic and French language district schools boards in Ontario organized 6  regional Orientation Sessions  for senior education leaders that were held during Fall  2011.  The participants were asked to identify tools and/or resources they would need to support them in building capacity to foster resilience in their district.

The strategy includes the following:

  1. Three professional development modules for educators, students, parents and the community to support building capacity to foster resilience in a school, system and community.
  2. Criteria to assess programs  to foster resilience at the school, community and student level