Key Initiatives and Collaborations
The Alberta Early Years Conference is presented by representatives of more than twenty Edmonton and area agencies and organizations concerned with the healthy development of children under the age of six. Success By 6 supports the professional development opportunity by providing financial management in partnership with United Way of the Alberta Capital Region.
Aligning Early Learning and Care Services
Success By 6® has been engaged in AELCS since December 2006 and acts as the current Chair. The idea to align early learning and care services was initiated by the Interagency Head Start Network and the City Centre Education Project with the intention of creating partnerships between agencies, funders and key stakeholders that work with children and families to maximize the available resources. The vision of the initiative is to work collectively to create an environment that supports the best possible conditions to promote optimal development for all children. By working cooperatively with community partners, the initiative strives to ensure that quality early childhood services are coordinated and effectively supporting children and their families in Edmonton.
Success By 6® is committed to helping build strong early childhood services that are coordinated and sustainable; the Early Years Continuum Project (EYCP) is a great example of how we are working to achieve this goal. On behalf of the early childhood sector, Success By 6® received a three-year conditional grant from the Early Learning Branch of Alberta Education. The purpose is to learn how to work toward creating and sustaining a comprehensive, coordinated continuum of services and supports for families with young children (prenatal to school entry). The project will enable communities to understand the essential qualities of family and community environments necessary for early childhood development, identify their needs and challenges, as well as their assets and opportunities, and then create a strategy to establish an effective continuum of services and supports for families.
Success By 6® is overseeing the implementation of the project in the following three communities: High Prairie (Northern Alberta), Millwoods/Knottwood (Edmonton South East), and Lymburn/Ormsby/Callingwood (Edmonton West).
A literature review was developed to guide and support the implementation of the project. It explores current literature and leading international theories and practice. See Resource section for the Early Years Continuum Project Literature Review.
Muttart Foundation/Success By 6® Forum
In 2011, Success By 6® provided resources for five forums held across the province to facilitate discussions on how to best support children and families. The forums brought together a broad spectrum of early learning and care stakeholders to begin the discussion of how we might all work together to support a more integrated approach to the funding and delivery of services for children and their families. The forum discussions drew on the ideas presented in the Muttart Foundation’s discussion paper ‘In the Best Interests of Children and Families’ released in fall 2010. Success By 6® will continue to support further similar discussions in 2012.
The results of these discussions have been captured in a summary documents entitled: In the Best Interests of Children and Families: A Plenary Discussion of Early Childhood Education and Care.
To access other early childhood information, visit the Muttart Foundation website.
National Child Day is a reminder of our shared commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. National Child Day is a day to increase awareness of the Convention and a day to celebrate and stand up for our children. It is an opportunity to reflect on how we nurture the lives, growth, and development of children and youth in Edmonton.
Increasing Quality and Professionalism in Early Learning and Care
Success By 6 Co-Chairs the Early Learning and Care Advisory Committee - Grant MacEwan College and sits on the Board of the Alberta Resource Centre for Quality Enhancement. Both provide opportunities to continually increase the professionalism of Early Childhood Educators, and support programs to increase the quality of opportunities for young children in early learning and care environments in Alberta.
Success By 6® Funded Programs
Increasing early literacy is the main focus of the Books for Children program at Norwood Child and Family Resource Centre. Books for Children offers three main family literacy programs: Books for Babies, Books for Toddlers and Books for Preschoolers. The program encourages parents and caregivers to share books with their babies and preschool age children by showing them ways to engage young children through books, songs and rhymes. Additionally, the program helps families to feel more connected to their community and helps to enhance the literacy skills of parents. In 2011, Norwood Child and Family Resource Centre facilitated 73 sessions and served 194 participants in the Books for Children Program.
TELUS World of Science Edmonton, through its Early Science Discovery Program, provides preschool aged children science discovery learning. The goal of the program is to foster excitement for science and life-long learning. It is provided for children in Head Start and Early Intervention Child Care programs in Edmonton, and is intended to support children who would otherwise not have access to early science learning opportunities. In 2011, the Early Science Discovery Program provided 44 sessions to 1260 preschool age children.
The Literacy C.O.W. bus, delivered through the Centre for Family Literacy, is an ideal venue for families to start their literacy journey in a fun, unique way. Parents and caregivers are supported in learning about their child’s literacy development and their role as their child’s first teacher. Children are engaged in language and literacy learning activities that are age appropriate and fun with their parent/caregiver, which helps to foster positive relationships. Parents also learn about other resources available in the community to help their children be successful in future learning. The C.O.W. bus currently visits 10 sites in communities around Edmonton, where it stops for 1.5 hour visits to do programming and allow families to borrow books. In 2011, the program served 257 adults and 419 children and lent over 2600 books to approximately 240 families.
The Alberta Prairie C.O.W. is a friendly space for parents and young children to learn and explore fun new ways to add literacy activities to their daily lives. At the invitation of local literacy groups, the Alberta Prairie C.O.W. bus travels to rural and small urban communities in Alberta, participating in locally planned events. Last year, the bus visited 94 communities, and served 1982 adults and 4158 children. The program also donated 4400 Legacy Library books and 30 Literacy Kits to community agencies and partners, and conducted 13 Parent and Practitioner Family Literacy Workshops with 84 participants. Through this program families are able to strengthen their understanding of their child’s literacy development through activities on they learn on the bus, which are designed to support language development and promote literacy activities within the home. Families who visit the bus are also become aware of organizations within their community that provide literacy services.
The Preschool Learn to Skate and Swim program offered by the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers gives preschool age children from immigrant families the opportunity to be active while learning preliminary skating and swimming skills. The program helps new Canadians to connect with community resources, develop skills, and participate more fully in the community. Program coordinators guide families through the registration process, which helps them become more aware of the programs and services available at their local recreation facilities. In 2011, 99 students -68 in skating and 31 in swimming were able to participate in the program.