Residents invited to give input on early childhood development
Airdrie and area residents are encouraged to attend the Our Children, Our Families, Our Future event at City Hall on June 14 from 3 to 5 p.m.
The event, put on by the North Rocky View Pathways to Success Coalition (NRVPSC), will present the results of an Early Child Development (ECD) survey that was conducted with six year olds in the communities of Airdrie, Balzac, Beiseker, Crossfield, Irricana, Kathryn and north Rocky View County.
The ECD is part of a mapping initiative, a five-year research and community development activity that will help Albertans to better understand how their young children are doing and to work together to support their healthy development. Alberta Education funds the initiative.
“The most important brain development in a person’s life span happens before they reach the age of six,” said Debbie Fasoli, program coordinator with NRVPSC.
“This is the first time we will have the results of how our kids are doing before they get into school. For the first time in history, we have quantifiable results.”
The survey was conducted in local schools by kindergarten teachers from 2009 to 2011 and includes responses from 585 children.
Fasoli said the results of the survey will be shocking for some residents and are important to everyone because it is not just about child development, it is about human development.
“We are not coming to people with all the answers,” she said about the café-style event on June 14.
“We want people to give us ideas about what is working and what isn’t and what they would like to see in the future. We need to hear from our community to know what direction to move in.”
The coalition has worked with a number of stakeholders in the communities including library boards, mayors, teachers, school boards, Boys and Girls Clubs and other organizations.
The survey is based on five developmental divisions: physical health, social competence, emotional maturity, language and thinking skills, and communication skills and general knowledge.
The survey also includes information on demographics of the area to give a full picture of a child’s development.
“Children’s development is like a house. You have to have a strong foundation and that is what we are trying to do is find ways to build that up before children start school,” said Fasoli.
The way a child’s brain develops in the early years affects a number of elements later in their life such as whether or not they will require special needs support in school, need social assistance or enter into the criminal justice system, she added.
“The kids that were involved in our survey are now nine or 10. In 10 years, they will be the adults in the community,” said Fasoli.
“They will be volunteers and taxpayers and family members and employees. If you care about what your community is going to look like going forward, whether you are a mother, father, aunt, uncle, grandparent, teacher caretaker… it takes a village to raise a child.”
For more information on the project, or to RSVP to the Our Children, Our Families, Our Future event, contact Fasoli at 403-512-3585 or email@example.com