Early childhood development (ECD) is a crucial period in a child’s life, with the first 2000 days being the most significant. In Alberta, the ECD network aims to ensure that children receive the support they need to achieve optimal physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development. This article will provide an overview of ECD in Alberta, covering its history, programs, frameworks, community involvement, professional development, and ECD models. Additionally, the article will present up-to-date information and statistics on ECD in the region.
History and Background
The ECD network in Alberta has its roots in several initiatives, including:
- AAC Camp Alberta and the International Play Association Conference in 2017
- Canada 150 Youth Forum and Day Network
- ARCQE and Ready, Set, Go! program
The ECD position in Alberta has been pivotal in coordinating the network’s activities and promoting early childhood development.
As of 2022, the Government of Alberta has invested over $1 billion in early learning and child care, which includes funding for ECD initiatives. This funding has allowed for the expansion of early childhood development programs and services across the province, including the opening of new child care centres and the hiring of additional early childhood educators.
ECD Programs and Frameworks
Several programs and frameworks underpin the ECD network in Alberta. These include:
|Alberta Early Learning Framework||A guide for early childhood educators to create play-based learning environments.|
|Engaging Community Toolkit||A resource for engaging diverse communities in early childhood development activities.|
|EDI Alberta||A tool for measuring children’s developmental health in communities across Alberta.|
|PACEkids Programs and Mobile Adventure Playground||A mobile playground that brings play to children and families in underserved communities.|
|Alberta Home Visitation Network||A network of home visitation programs that support families with young children.|
|Palix Foundation and Love Builds Brains||A resource for understanding how early childhood experiences shape the brain’s development.|
The Alberta government has been working on a review of the Alberta Early Learning Framework to ensure that it remains up to date with current research and best practices in early childhood development.
The Engaging Community Toolkit is a resource for engaging diverse communities in early childhood development activities. The toolkit includes resources for community outreach and engagement, as well as information on how to address barriers to participation in early childhood development programs and services.
The most recent EDI data showed that 27.5% of kindergarten-aged children in Alberta were vulnerable in at least one developmental domain. This vulnerability was most commonly observed in the social competence domain, where 19.3% of children were vulnerable.
As of 2022, the PACEkids Programs and Mobile Adventure Playground had served over 35,000 children in 113 communities across Alberta. The Alberta Home Visitation Network had served over 11,000 families across Alberta.
The Palix Foundation’s Brain Story Certification Program provides training for professionals and caregivers to understand the science of brain development and its implications for early childhood development.
Community Involvement and Events
Community involvement is essential for the success of the ECD network in Alberta. Examples of community involvement and events include:
- Niitsitapi Learning Centre and Ethno Cultural Council of Calgary
- North Glenmore Park Events and Pho Huong Viet Falconridge
- Healthy Families Grande Prairie and Calgary Reads
- The Learning Journey Canada and ParticipACTION Kids
- First Calgary Coventry Hills and the Genesis Centre Events
As of 2022, the Government of Alberta has provided funding for the establishment of over 100 Early Learning and Child Care Centres across the province. These centres provide a range of services, including child care, early childhood education, family supports, and health services. The centres are located in areas with the greatest need for services and aim to provide accessible and high-quality early childhood development services to all families in Alberta.
In addition to government-funded programs and services, there are many community-based organizations working to support early childhood development in Alberta. These organizations offer a range of programs and services, including parent education, playgroups, and home visitation programs.
Professional Development and Resources
Professional development and resources are vital for educators and caregivers to provide the best care for young children. Alberta has several resources, including:
- Preschool teacher requirements
- Child care conferences
- Transgender Health Network and WPATH
- Alberta Teachers Convention
- Child Intervention Practice Framework
- Alberta Child Care Curriculum Framework
As of 2022, the Government of Alberta has increased funding for early childhood education and child care, including funding for professional development and training for early childhood educators. This funding has supported the development of new training programs and resources, including the Early Childhood Educator Competencies and the Child Development Supervisor Certification Program.
ECD Models and Implementation
The ECD network in Alberta follows several models for implementation, including:
- Integrated Approach and ECD Learning
- Collective Impact Framework
- Community Capacity Building Ottawa
- ECD Position and Network Professional Association
- ParticipACTION Report and Q Card
The Integrated Approach and ECD Learning model emphasize the importance of a coordinated approach to early childhood development, with a focus on play-based learning and the use of evidence-based practices.
The Collective Impact Framework is a model for collaboration and coordination among stakeholders in early childhood development, including government agencies, non-profit organizations, and community groups. The model aims to leverage the strengths and resources of each stakeholder to achieve shared goals and outcomes for children and families.
Community Capacity Building Ottawa is a model for building community capacity and engagement in early childhood development. The model emphasizes the importance of community involvement and engagement in the design and delivery of early childhood development programs and services.
Early childhood development is essential for a child’s long-term success, and the ECD network in Alberta aims to provide the necessary support for children to reach their potential. The ECD network’s history, programs, frameworks, community involvement, professional development, and ECD models all work together to achieve this goal.
As of 2022, the Government of Alberta has made significant investments in early learning and childcare, including funding for the expansion of services, the development of new programs and resources, and professional development and training for early childhood educators. It is essential to continue to support and invest in the ECD network in Alberta to ensure that all children in the province have access to the supports and services they need to achieve optimal physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development. By doing so, we can help to ensure that all children have the best possible start in life.