The Formative 5 Coalition is a community lead initiative that includes a group of community members who have come together in response to the results of the Early Development Instrument (EDI), a questionnaire completed by kindergarten teachers across Alberta with parent’s consent on children’s development.
The EDI describes development in the following five areas of kindergarten children; Social Competence; Language & Thinking Skills; Physical Health and Well-being; Emotion Maturity and Communication Skills & General Knowledge. More information is available by visiting www.ecmap.ca
Between 2009 and 2012, more than 52,000 kindergarten students’ developments in the above areas were taken into consideration. The results indicate that the majority of children in this province are developing well, however, in Subcommunity A (Chestermere – Southeast Rockyview) the results are somewhat concerning.
For example, in the area of Communication Skills & General Knowledge, the Alberta average was that 29.13% of children in the questionnaire experienced difficulty, where as the Chestermere numbers suggest 38.08% of children in our community are experiencing difficulty. Overall results show that approximately one in four Chestermere area children are having or experiencing difficulty in one or more areas of development.
The members of Formative 5 meet monthly, and have a mission to engage the community to focus their collective efforts and resources to positively develop community and meet the needs of early childhood development for children aged 0-6 years old. One of the ways they have done this is by hosting information sessions where members of the community were invited to engage in conversation with the opportunity to provide feedback, which then goes directly to the Alberta government.
On Monday, September 30 two of these meetings were held at the Chestermere Town Hall and saw many stakeholders attend including parents, preschool teachers, daycare centre representatives, early childhood directors, Town of Chestermere and Parent Link employees, nurses, and dayhome owners.
Through question and discussion, the broad group that met on September 30th discussed how we in Chestermere could make it easier for everyone to get the information and access the services they need, how we can help support young children to best learn, grow and thrive and what can we as a community do to help develop a system of support?
Early Childhood Development matters because it sets the course for a child’s future by building a solid foundation. The Alberta Governments approach to early childhood development is to focus on building community networks of high quality, connected and accessible early childhood programs and services which will allow parents to access the right services at the right time.
Ultimately, success will be reached when more women experience healthy pregnancies; more children are realizing their developmental potential in the first years of life; when parents are more confident in their parenting role and how their child is developing and finally, when communities are working together to increase access to the right services, at the right time to meet the needs of families.
The Formative 5 Coalition strives to have a strong and visible presence in the communities it serves so that individuals can maximize their understanding of child development and the importance of early childhood activities and interventions. Formative 5 welcomes and encourages parental, caregiver and community participation. For more information about Formative 5 please contact Heather Skippen email@example.com or call the Kidz 1st Network Parent Link Centre at 403-207-7060.