Centre for Child Well-Being

S4 shield

The Start Smart Stay Safe Children and Family Projects are a collaborative initiative between the Calgary Police Service, the Calgary Board of Education, the Calgary Catholic School District, and Mount Royal University’s Centre for Child Well-Being.

Calgary Police Service   CBE     CCSD   MRU

The intention is to support schools and families in a meaningful way and to move the focus of community policing toward education and prevention and away from the perception of policing as limited to law enforcement.

It is anticipated that this initiative will help strengthen children, families and communities, and in the long-term, decrease victimization and youth involvement in criminal activities.


This initiative will support police in building relationships in schools and school communities through the participation in educational sessions that are aimed at facilitating the development of resilience in children and families better enabling them to successfully navigate through the challenges that are the reality of their daily lives.

The Start Smart Stay Safe Framework

S4 framework

Adapted from the Circle of Courage philosophy of child rearing and grounded in resiliency research, the S4 theoretical framework depicts four areas of strength that students can develop in order to build resilience:

Significance is experienced when one’s need to be connected to others and belong are met through positive attachments, the building of support systems and the formation of a cultural identity.

Service is experienced through contribution and concern for the well-being of others, the development of empathy, and altruism. 

Self-Awareness is experienced through self-knowledge and is necessary for the development of self-regulation, self-discipline, autonomy, and independent decision-making.

Success is experienced through the mastery of skills, the development of knowledge and successful strategies applied to achieve goals.

The Children's Project

The Start Smart Stay Safe Children’s Project will be developed, piloted and evaluated for children from Kindergarten to Grade 6 in both the Calgary Board of Education and Calgary Catholic School District over the next three years. Participating schools will have the opportunity to welcome police officers into classrooms and school community and to inform and support a shift in paradigm in education and law enforcement toward a strengths-based model of responsible citizenship.

The Family Project

s4PostertmbA complimentary Family Project will also be developed, piloted and evaluated for the purpose of connecting with families and caregivers of the children participating in the pilot project to further enhance the learnings occurring in the school environment. The aim of the Family Project is to connect with families in a variety of ways to build upon the existing strengths and resiliency of parents and caregivers and their families.

The Family Project has developed Parent Resource Books and brochures for  parents as an interactive tool for parents/guardians designed to use as an opportunity to get to know the Start Smart Stay Safe (S4) initiative, its philosophy, and some guidelines as to how to use developmentally appropriate and strengths-based activities with their children. Parent Resource Books will be developed for parents/guardians of children in Kindergarten through Grade 6.

Level 1: Parent Resource Book & Brochure
Level 2: Parent Resource Book & Brochure
Level 3: Parent Resource Book & Brochure
Level 4: Parent Resource Book & Brochure

Family Engagement Brochure for Parents

Survey for Parents
If you are a parent/guardian of a child in one of the pilot schools participating in the Start Smart Stay Safe Project, please fill out this survey online to help us further develop the Family Project! We appreciate your support! 

Facilitated Family Sessions

A Facilitated Family Session is a workshop facilitated by a police officer and/or a family serving community agency as part of the Start Smart Stay Safe Project. These sessions are held at the request of parents/schools in the area. These sessions respond to issues that impact children, their parents, and the school community. Using a strengths-based perspective, the sessions address issues such as bullying, community safety, Internet safety, and other important topics, that may be of concern to families. Instead of waiting until the issue has become a real concern, the sessions provide parents with alternative ways to deal with the issue proactively. Within each session, there is information sharing between the officer/facilitator and the attendees, and activities to assist in learning between parents.

To learn more about the topic presented at different Facilitated Family Sessions, check out some of the sessions’ corresponding tips sheets:

pdf_icon.PDF Documents

Research Bytes

One of the intentions of the Start Smart Stay Safe Family Project is to provide meaningful and accessible information to parents on a variety of research based topics for children and families such as: Using a Strengths-Based Approach to Foster Resilience and Why Use a Strengths-Based Approach Instead of a Deficit Based Approach. 

pdf_icon.PDF Documents

Check out the new Research Bytes Summary Sheet for a quick overview of the key points outlined in the Research Bytes.

For more information on the Start Smart Stay Safe Projects contact kduke@mtroyal.ca

Tip Sheets

Start Smart Stay Safe Tip Sheets are designed to provide quick information for parents to encourage healthy development in children and families. Each Tip Sheet provides research-based information on how to promote healthy child and family development and suggestions on how to incorporate these strategies into daily life.

The benefit to parents, in understanding your child’s development, you will be able to provide them with opportunities as well that can boost their development and prepare them for the next phase of their growth. At the same time, you as a parent would be able to set expectations and limits that are appropriate for your child.

pdf_icon.PDF Documents

Download all Tip Sheets in one .PDF

Dr. Michael Ungar

Dr. Michael Ungar
On August 30, 2011, the Start Smart Stay Safe Project held its official launch celebration. Guest speaker Dr. Micheal Ungar was invited to speak to the importance of children and family resiliency.

 View more on The Beginning of Resilience: A View Across Cultures, Resiliency in Children, and Dr Ungar's presentation from the S4 Launch



Funded by Safe Communities Innovation Fund       Government of Alberta