F.L. Jessica Ball, M.P.H., Ph.D.
Early Childhood Care and Development Specialist
Jessica Ball is a professor in the School of Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria, Canada, and a consultant on a range of projects in the areas of early childhood care and development, family formation, language in education, and migrant children. She is the director of Early Childhood Development Intercultural Partnerships Program, based mainly at the University of Victoria. This is a largely grant-funded program of research and a network of university- and community-based scholars and partner organizations. They share in common an interest in understanding the policies, practices and social conditions that manufacture the marginalization of certain populations of children, especially Indigenous, ethnolinguistic minority and migrant children and families. Their work explores ways to support these populations to advocate for their rights, draw upon Indigenous and local knowledges, and succeed in family life, education, employment and civic participation. While many projects have been instigated by Indigenous community partners, the scope of projects undertaken by team members is global. Project areas include language-in-education policies and multilingual pedagogies, migrant children and families, early language development, father involvement, Indigenous children's wellness, culturally based early childhood programs, and early screening, assessment and intervention.
Dr. Ball has an M.A. in developmental psychology, a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, and an M.P.H. in international health from the University of California, Berkeley. She has done research, teaching, professional development, and program evaluation projects in universities in North America and Asia, and for organizations such as the Brookings Institute, the Open Society Foundation, the Aga Khan Foundation, BRAC, Save the Children, and UNESCO. Dr. Ball spent 12 years, from 1984 to 1996, in Southeast Asia, working with universities, community service agencies, and government ministries on research, teaching and programs involving mental health, youth health behaviours, and training teachers at all levels of education from post-graduate to preschool.
For several years, Dr. Ball was the director of an innovative, bicultural, post-secondary education program to strengthen Indigenous capacity to design and deliver culturally-based early childhood care and development programs (www.fnpp.org). Jessica was a founding faculty member of the Early Childhood Development Virtual University (www.ecdvu.org) in which she created and taught graduate courses in Africa and the Middle East. She was a core international lecturer in a new BRAC University, MA program in early childhood. She is the author or co-author of over 120 journal articles and book chapters, and 3 books.