Early Childhood Development Report '12

Are Our Children Getting Good Starts?

 

The Wetaskiwin and Area Early Childhood Development Coalition has reported on its initial findings for the Early Child Development Mapping Initiative (ECMap), a province wide five year project funded by the Government of Alberta and involving the Ministries of Education, Health and Wellness, and Human Services.  Every community in Alberta will have its own early childhood development coalition which will gather and analyze the local information and then respond to the local needs.  Lisa Cottrell is the ECMap Community Development Coordinator for Wetaskiwin and Area, and may be contacted at the Wetaskiwin Community Health Centre at 5610-40 Avenue, phone 780-361-4419, fax 780-361-4335, ot email ECMapWetaskiwinArea@gmail.com.  The results were made public at a Children's Festival held in the Drill Hall where the many agencies involved with early child development had informative displays and activities for the children.  It was well attended and enjoyed.
The project involves gathering, analyzing, and correlating three types of information pertinent to early child development.  Kindergarten teachers fill out the Early Development Instrument for their students.  Comprehensive information on community resources is gathered, and socio-economic information is obtained from the 2006 census.  The resulting statistics are compared between sub-areas within communities,  as well as with the provincial and national averages.  
The Early Development Instrument (EDI), developed in Canada by the Offord Centre for Child Studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, describes development in five areas.
PHYSICAL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING considers if a child is well-rested, well-nourished, can sustain energy levels, has the physical independence to look after basic needs, has the gross motor skills such as catching and throwing balls, and has the fine motor skills for activities such as handling pencils and crayons.  
SOCIAL COMPETENCE considers how well a child plays with and gets along with others, curiosity and desire to explore, respect for adults and ability to control own behaviour.
EMOTIONAL MATURITY is the ability to express emotions at an age-appropriate level and empathize with others.
LANGUAGE AND THINKING SKILLS involve interest in reading and writing, the ability to count, and recognition of some shapes and colours.
COMMUNICATION SKILLS AND GENERAL KNOWLEDGE is ability to communicate needs and wants in socially appropriate ways, ability to tell stories, and includes age appropriate knowledge about the outside world.
The EDI results are described in three categories.  
“Developing appropriately” is the category for the top 75% of children, those who have most or all of the skills and abilities expected of children in kindergarten.  
“Experiencing difficulty” is the category which includes children who have some delays in some areas of development with scores falling between the bottom 10% and 25% of children.  
“Experiencing great difficulty” is the category describing the children with scores in the lowest 10% as compared to other children across Canada.
RESULTS FOR WETASKIWIN AND AREA
Results for the Wetaskiwin Community and each of three identified areas within it may be compared to national normative data (which is heavily influenced by B.C. and Ontario data) and by the combination of results across Alberta, a constantly growing data bank.  The concern for those experiencing the most difficulty is obvious from the comparison figures being given in terms of the percentage of children who are having great developmental difficulty (in the bottom 10%) in one or more categories.
The following percentages represent the percentage of children experiencing great developmental difficulty in one or more categories:
Canada        25.40%
Alberta        26.96%
Wetaskiwin and Area   30.64%
Wetaskiwin Count       22.58%
Millet        31.82%
Wetaskiwin City        33.33%
It is no surprise to those of us who know and appreciate rural life that fewer kindergarten children from the rural area have great developmental difficulties, nor does it surprise us that the one subarea where they do tend to experience more developmental difficulties is that of Social Competence.
In considering resources, it is noted that parents are the greatest resource for early childhood development.  Community resources and supports that are well planned to fulfil their purpose for little ones make the parents' job easier.  An example of resources sitting poorly used because of inadequate understanding of all that was required is the Toddler Playground in Wetaskiwin.  It is a delightful area for wee ones and even has wheelchair access, but it is little used because of lack of barriers between it and the busy streets, too close proximity to the bad language and behaviour of the skateboard park, too close proximity to the high school during lunch hour and after school, and a lack of washrooms close enough to be of use with little ones.
Bill Elliot, Mayor of the City of Wetaskiwin, noted that the formation of the Early Childhood Development Coalitions stops the individual agencies involved from working in “silos” and eliminates duplication.
The project across the country and provincially is sparked by the growing understanding of brain development.  The ECD report notes that, “Children's early experiences shape actual brain structure during a critical period of development (from birth to about age five).  These experiences have a lifelong impact on school, work, health, relationships and well-being.  Socio-economic conditions and community resources, as well as children's relationships with their immediate family and other caregivers, are among the factors that affect children's early experiences and thus development.” 
Further information may be obtained on the internet.  
Ways to encourage each phase of brain development from before birth to age three:  www.zerotothree.org/baby-brain-map.html  
A seven-module online workshop providing a step-by-step comprehensive explanation of early brain development:  www.withthebraininmind.org/buildingbrains  
The Alberta Government's Early Child Development Mapping Project:  www.ecmap.ca  
I also consider it worth noting that this cross Canada study completely ignores the facts that the top two per cent of children are so intelligent that those of the same age are not their peers, that these very highly intelligent children have special needs that must be met in order for them to achieve their full potential, that we have hundreds and thousands of people with the intellectual ability of an Einstein but whose superior abilities are never realized for the benefit of the rest of society because they are not recognized, supported or valued.  There is a growing body of knowledge about the characteristics, problems and needs of gifted children and adults, but, obviously, it has not filtered down to educators.
More Stories:
  • Wheelin' For Jordie & Unexpected Champions Support for Jordie Miller doesn’t seem to be wavering, not anytime soon. This seemed to be the general sentiment at a recent fundraiser to help Jordie Miller, a 25 year old man who is focused on his slow motor skills improvement ...
  • Petition For Changes To Hospital Intersection (Highways 13 & 814) On October 9th, the Whitney/Mayes family lost a very dear loved one at the intersection of Hwy 13 and Hwy 814 in Wetaskiwin. “We have discovered far too many lives have been lost at that intersection and are working on having ...
  • Wetaskiwin Twilighters Visionary Support Group Enjoying New Home Wetaskiwin Twilighters Visionary Support Group, an associate group to C.N.I.B. (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) has been an active non-profit organization in Wetaskiwin for 25 years assisting and supporting anyone ...
  • Regional Spelling Bee Declares Top Winners On February 18, months of hard work paid off for students of grades four to eight of the Black Gold School Division (BGSD). Eleven schools in the School Division #18 enlisted in a battle of brains and confidence to determine ...
  • Shave Heads To Raise Money Ten students from New Sarepta Elementary School and one from NSCHS, shaved their heads to raise money for the fight against cancer at their school’s Valentine assembly on Friday, February 13th. The boys had their pink locks ...
  • Homeless In The County Over five dozen people are homeless in Leduc County. After conducting a study over the past four months, Leduc County Family and Community Support workers found 64 people were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. “We ...
  • Wild Horses To Be Auctioned February 28 If you would like to bid on a wild horse this year, mark February 28th on your calendar and plan on attending the Innisfail Auction Market. This year’s capture season is radically different from those in the past. Wranglers ...
  • Wetaskiwin Ag Society Century Award The Wetaskiwin Agricultural Society was first organized in approximately 1897 and was incorporated March 22, 1898, the same year as the Yukon Gold Rush. In order to be incorporated, 100 people had to register and pay $1 each. ...
  • Leduc County Presents STARS With $6000 Just before accepting their annual grant from Leduc County Feb. 10, STARS representatives told how that money is keeping STARS in the skies. STARS Development Officer Miriam Moison said last year, STARS flew 13 missions in ...
  • Book Signing at the New Leduc Library By day, he is a mortgage specialist, working hard to help his clients. For the remainder of the week, he is a dedicated City of Leduc councillor, a loving husband and family man, a fit and community-focused individual and ...
  • Leduc Authors Last week we ran into David Mackenzie at the Leduc Library. David was setting up a display for his recently release second novel titled “Calypso”. David is the first local author to be featured by the Leduc Library for an ...
  • Maskwacis Hosts At Parkdale The Ermineskin Junior and Senior High School from Maskwacis hosted a supper and entertained at Parkdale School in Wetaskiwin. The Foods class from Ermineskin High School catered the supper, and then entertainment was provided ...
  • Ma-Me-O Legion Continues Tradition Of Generosity: $2000 for Wetaskiwin Hospital The Wetaskiwin Hospital and Care Centre has gained a much deserved reputation, a healthcare facility that provides residents with the comfort of knowing top notch healthcare services are readily available in this community. ...
  • Family Day, A Great Idea Since 1989 On February 16th, 2015, By-the-Lake Park in Wetaskiwin was a flurry of activity (and snow) as happy families and friends participated in the annual Family Day celebration hosted by the Rotary Club and Catholic Social Services, ...
  • Family Day At Gateway Church In several Canadian provinces, Family Day is a statutory holiday occurring on a Monday in February. Two-thirds of Canadians live in a province that observes this holiday. Except in British Columbia, Family Day coincides with ...
  • Coal Lake Lighthorse 4-H Hello everyone! It’s been an awesome start to 2015 with a number of activities for the Coal Lake Lighthorse 4H club! To start things off we had our club meeting on January 5, 2015. Here we discussed details for the upcoming ...
  • Leduc 4-H Beef Club For the Leduc 4-H Beef Club, January proved to be an eventful month and was filled with preparing for Public Speaking and the beginning of a new year. Our monthly meeting was held on January 12th at Eidick’s and we discussed ...
  • Shamburger Champ Leduc resident Austin Johannesen was one of the participants in Shamrock Burgers annual Monster Sham Eating Contest. Johannesen tied with Leduc resident Anthony Lange for second place, each walking away with $100 Feb. 7. ...
  • Firefighters Complete Rooftop Fundraiser Leduc firefighters Tamara Osmak, Mindy Smith, Amber Gall and Kathy Massey braved the cold temperatures on the roof of the Leduc fire hall February 10th - 13th to raise money and awareness for Muscular Dystrophy. Photo by ...
  • Alberta Youth 1st Canadian in Extreme Mustang Makeover Started by the Mustang Heritage Foundation to encourage adoption of American wild horses that have been captured and are in BLM (Bureau of Land Management) corrals and long term holding facilities. The Extreme Mustang Makeover ...




 
  • Leduc Radio Ad
  • Industrial Netmedia
  • Industrial Netmedia
  • Industrial Netmedia