According to 2009 and 2011 Early Childhood Development Instrument (EDI) scores, children entering Kindergarten in Hastings-Prince Edward are most vulnerable in the areas of physical health and well-being, emotional maturity, and communication skills/general knowledge.
The 25-member Early Childhood Development Working Group (ECD), co-chaired by Jill Gardiner (Algonquin and Lakeshore District School Board) and Jackie Whittingham (Hastings & Prince Edward Counties Health Unit), was struck by the Children and Youth Services Network (CYSN) in March 2013 with a mandate towards improving early childhood development outcomes for children in HPE. A community kick-off was held on July 5, 2013, featuring Vancouver early child development researcher Joanne Schroeder.
After much discussion, the idea of developing a community awareness/resource campaign that builds upon collaboration between CYSN member organizations and community partners was born. The target audience for a series of key messages and corresponding resources will be parents and caregivers of children 0-6 years, and social media platforms will be used to minimize the challenge of access as a result of our rural geography.
Because the physical health and well-being domain shows the largest percentage of children below developmental expectations, the campaign will first focus on the importance of play in the early years. The ECD working group will draw upon messages and resources offered by such campaigns as ParticipACTION, and make use of other resources such as the Public Health Physical Activity Directory and How Does Learning Happen? They are also collaborating with the Health Unit’s Healthy Habits Begin Early Project, which targets physical activity and healthy eating in child care centres, to ensure that common language is used in all messaging.
Looking ahead to the fall, the ECD working group will be planning a consultation with the Best Start Resource Centre to increase the physical literacy of working group members, establish common terminology and develop a communication strategy.
It is our understanding that the EDI will be performed in 2015 which will allow us to monitor results.
Note: Photo taken with permission from the ECD Working Group members present at the logic model development meeting on June 9th in Tyendinaga.
Anyone wishing to join the ECD Working group is encouraged to contact Wendy Anderson, Coordinator, Children and Youth Services Network