What is the Early Years Coalition? Currently in Alberta, there are 98 Early Years Coalitions. Our Wetaskiwin Early Years Coalition covers the County (from Alder Flats to Gwynne), the Town of Millet and the City of Wetaskiwin. We collaborate with members in the City, Town and County to promote and create awareness of early childhood development. We hope to enhance and sustain the foundational health and well-being of young children, families and caregivers. Does this interest you? Would you like to be involved? Don’t hesitate to contact your Early Years Coalition. Everyone should be part of this conversation including moms, dads, and caregivers. After all, children are our future – that is indeed true!
The recent Early Development Instrument (EDI) survey of 2016 showed that Wetaskiwin and area children are below the Alberta average for all areas of development. The survey was done on kindergarten children halfway through the year by the teacher. The teacher received training for the EDI and got to know the children better before the survey. The survey consists of 103 questions to evaluate the developmental areas of Physical Health and Well Being, Language and Cognitive Development, Communication and General Knowledge, Social Competence, and Emotional Maturity.
The results show that kindergarten children in 2016 are “vulnerable” and “at risk” in all areas of development, especially Emotional Maturity. Emotional Maturity is the ability to think before acting, impulse control, ability to deal with feelings, and empathy for other people’s feelings. It is not so easy just to teach your child about emotions, but it is through experiences with a supportive and nurturing caregiver that children learn to identify their emotions.
What can you do as a parent or caregiver? You can read to your child and stop to talk about the character’s feelings. Ask your child if they have felt that way. Make eye contact. Make faces to show your feelings and label them. Help your child label their feelings: “Oh, you seem frustrated. Let’s see what we can do to change that together”. Children experience big emotions. All emotions are okay, but it’s the resulting actions that matter. Does your child need help to cope with their big feelings? There are supports and resources in town. Talk to an Occupational Therapist for free every 3rd Thursday at the Community Health Centre 8:30-11am. The Wetaskiwin Learning Program has Sunbeams, a grief intervention program for preschoolers and kindergarten children. The Parent Link Centre has resources, supports and a program specifically helping children deal with their emotions called Mindful Mondays. Support your child in their ability to develop Emotional Maturity skills. We have an abundance of resources!
Do you have a concern about services in your community for your family? Is there something missing that you need? How can you be better supported to raise your children? Please send your thoughts and feedback.
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