By investing in children and youth, we increase the rate of high school completion and, ultimately, greatly improve further education and employment opportunities, thus decreasing the likelihood of poverty.
What We Do - Success By 6...
Educates the public on the importance of the early years and their connection to today’s social issues.
Leverages pertinent research to build the case for the importance of the early years.
Partners with organizations who have similar mandates in order to broaden the reach of the dialogue.
Influences government policy via public engagement and media relations.
Supports all 60,000 children between 0 and 6 years and their families living in Edmonton.
Why Invest in Children?
Canada spends the least of all developed countries on early childhood development and care. As a result, upon entering kindergarten between 25 to 30 percent of Alberta children (not including those diagnosed with severe disabilities) are vulnerable in one or more aspects of their development and may struggle to hold a pencil, play cooperatively with their peers, tell a short story about their day, or follow classroom instructions.
Tell me a little bit about the ECMap project.
The mapping project began in July of 2009 when a contract was signed between the Government of Alberta and the University of Alberta to study the developmental outcomes of preschool children in Alberta and to look at the factors that might be affecting those outcomes. The project also has a significant community development component. Communities throughout Alberta have been invited to participate in interpreting the early child development outcomes for their own area and to look at how they might increase the quality of the environments and supports for young children in their communities.
Why is this project important?
Healthy development in the early years is critical to individual well-being in later life and to the overall health of communities and our society. Without information on how well young children are doing, planning for improvements is not well enough grounded to know how effective the improvements are. This project will provide baseline data for planning, creating the beginning for effective improvements.
Where is the project at right now?
For the first time data on the province's 5 year olds is available for the whole of the province. Analysis is underway to examine the indicators of developmental progress of these children. We are looking at the data in 5 areas of development - physical health and well being; social competence; emotional maturity; language and thinking skills; and communication skills and general knowledge. When we look at the province as a whole and compare the outcomes with those of children elsewhere in Canada, Alberta children are not doing as well. We are currently analyzing the data on a community by community basis and are looking at what community factors may be accounting for the particular patterns we are seeing in Alberta. These are early days in the analysis so watch the project website for emerging information as the analysis progresses (www.ecmap.ca).