My name is Claire and this is my message…..
When I went to the SPEC- ParentLINKCentre programs, I learned to “listen to my teachers and smile and talk with them. I look forward to seeing them and learning from them. I really like learning my numbers, letters and cooking with my friends and teachers!”– Claire(Age 4)
Claire is 4 years old and will be heading off to Kindergarten in the Fall! She is helping us to share the importance of early learning. Here we tell more of her story through the eyes of both her Mom & her program providers at SPEC- ParentLINKCenter.
“I decided to register her in the SPEC- ParentLINKCentre programs- (Messy Monkeys, Little Chefs and Little Scientists ) because Claire needed help to socialize with other children. She needed to learn how to play with other children her own age and connect with them in a fun environment. “- Joanne (Claire’s Mom)
“When Claire started attending programs she was so shy and wouldn’t play with any of the other children. Claire would come in the playroom and sit on her mother’s lap or play with a toy by herself. If a child came to play Claire would leave and go see her mother.” – Karen Bolt (SPEC ParentLINKCenter)
The ECMap developmental domain of Emotional Maturity can be described as “the child is able to express emotions at an age-appropriate level, is able to separate from parent/guardian.” In Brooks and the County of Newell 27.2% of our Kindergarten children are experiencing difficulty in this area of development.
The emotional maturity of a child has great impact on their everyday life. It affects every relationship they have, with members of their own family, and with new children and adults they encounter in the community. As you can imagine, those children who struggle in this area will face even greater challenges when they enter school, as they will need to handle all of the changes that brings and all the emotions that come with it. We can support our children by providing them with lots of opportunity to develop emotional control while we can guide them. Attending early childhood programs which provide a variety of experiences early in life, with a variety of children and adults, can make all the difference, as they gain control over their emotions, and confidence in their ability to meet new people and make friends. By attending early learning opportunities, they will have had practice in situations such as: separating from Mom or Dad; having to listen to another adult besides their parent(s); sharing with children other than siblings; and resolving conflict with other children; all while managing their emotions or, if needed, having an experienced teacher or program provider assist them in doing that.
“Claire now welcomes us with a smile and a “hello” when we see her come to SPEC-ParentLINKCentre. Claire has joined in on conversation during the program and asks questions when she doesn’t understand. I also see Claire playing and talking with other children during the program and while playing. Claire seems much happier now. We are continuing to focus on social interaction with other children so that when she begins Kindergarten, the transition from home to making new friends at school will be much easier.”- Karen Bolt (SPEC ParentLINKCenter)
“The biggest change I have seen in Claire since starting these programs is how happy she is to be there. She always has a smile on her face when greeting her teachers. She also looks forward to playing with other children she has become friends with instead of playing alone.
I would recommend SPEC- ParentLINKCentre programs to the other parents because the children have opportunities to learn at their own pace. The tasks are fun and the teachers take the time to get to know the names and the personalities of the children. The teachers do not push the children to do things they aren’t comfortable with at the time. The teachers are well prepared and are a huge help to the parents as well. I am proud of Claire because she has come out of her shell and emotionally is more ready to start Kindergarten in September.”- Joanne (Claire’s Mom)
“Healthy early childhood development is the foundation to a child's life. From positive relationships with peers and family to sleep habits to kicking a soccer ball, the experiences in a child's early years are of the utmost importance. We know from the results that came out of the ECMap Project, a large percentage of our children here in Brooks and area are experiencing difficulty. At the SPEC Parent LINK Centre we have staff with many different backgrounds and expertise to facilitate early childhood activities and empower parents with the resources they need to foster the best environments for their children. We believe in learning through play and also believe that parents are their child's BEST teacher!” – Desire Veno (Program Manager, SPEC ParentLINKCenter)
Nearly 29% of Kindergarten-age children in Alberta are experiencing great difficulty in one or more of the five areas of development. In Brooks and area this number jumps to nearly 33%! (www.ecmap.ca). The five developmental domains are related, building on each other, and it is important to support children as they develop emotional maturity, social competence, and communication skills, as difficulties in these areas directly affect development in general knowledge, language and thinking skills and physical health and well-being. Children who have well-developed self regulation skills, and are able to communicate their needs, are better equipped to learn new skills and develop their knowledge, even when something is new or difficult. The ‘unwritten curriculum’ provided through early learning opportunities, will support their successful transition to Kindergarten. Giving our children the opportunity and time to develop in appropriately in all five developmental domains will change the statistics we are seeing for children in our community. We can improve the experience our children are having, as students in Kindergarten and beyond! For more information about the statistics seen throughout the Little People, Big Message campaign, please visit the website of the Brooks & County of Newell ECD Coalition. For more information about the programs mentioned via the BELA Blog please see the resources below.
Brooks & County Immigration Services
Brooks Early Learning Academy
Les P'Tits Trésors.
Parents As Teachers
Grasslands Intervention Offices
403.362.8729 ext 116
SPEC Parent Link Center