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Friday, May 15, 2015

Little People, Big Message....(Anthony)

My Name is Anthony and this is my message….

“When I started preschool I needed help to hold my crayons and pencils correctly and needed help drawing and printing.

Now I love to paint, color pictures, draw and write my name.  I also have learned that a fiction book means "make believe" and a non-fiction books means "real facts". I especially loved learning about zoo animals at school this year.  Did you know that a herd of rhino's is called a crash?”- Anthony (age5)

Anthony started preschool when he was just 2 years & 8 months old! He is ready & excited to head off to Kindergarten in the Fall. Anthony is helping us share the importance of early learning. Here we tell more of his story through the eyes of his parents & teachers.

“We have seen tremendous growth in Anthony's development since he started preschool at the age of two “turning three in December" especially in his fine motor skills.  What was once a struggle for Anthony, now it is such a joy to see the pride and love Anthony has for drawing pictures, coloring and painting and printing his name and letters and numbers. We always look forward to Anthony's enthusiastic stories after school about what he learned that morning.”- Thelma (Anthony’s Mom)  

The ECMap developmental domain for Physical Health & Well-being is described as: “Child is well-rested, well-nourished and can sustain energy levels during kindergarten activities; is physically independent (can look after own basic needs); has gross motor skills (e.g. able to catch and throw a ball) and fine motor skills (e.g. able to handle crayons and pencils). 

ECMap data indicates 75.2% of the children in Brooks and the County of Newell are developing appropriately in this developmental domain, while 24.8% are experiencing difficulty, which is similar to percentages throughout the province of Alberta. ( 

“We know that the early learning years (birth to age 8) are of vital importance.  Anthony has one of those very late birthdays (before the Dec31 cut-off) where parents have to make the decision of when to send them to preschool as well as when to send them to Kindergarten. Anthony could have attended Kindergarten last year, according to his birthday but would have likely been one of the youngest students in his class. This decision for parents is always a difficult one and has to made with
careful consideration based on the child’s needs and development. Anthony’s parents gave him the opportunity to maximize his potential over the last three years. The progress Anthony has made in the Physical Health & Well-being domain, particularly in the areas of independence and fine motor, has been exemplary. The time Anthony spent with us allowed him to grow and develop in all 5 domains, and as a result Anthony is developmentally ready for the excitement of new challenges as he enters Kindergarten. “ - Jody Rutherford (BELA)

Children who attend Preschool are provided with extensive experiences in relation to the 'unwritten curriculum' which helps to prepare them for greater independence as learners in Kindergarten. As well, it is often in Preschool that developmental concerns or difficulty with vision or hearing are identified, and assessment recommended, which helps to ensure that these concerns have been addressed prior to entry into Kindergarten.

Participation in early childhood programs, with other children of similar age and developmental level, gives the child more opportunity to be exposed to varied learning opportunities, staff of different backgrounds, children & families with skills and interests different from their own. Brooks has a wide variety of early learning program opportunities and staff at SPEC Parent Link, the Brooks Preschool, the Francophone school, BELA, the Brooks Library, Parents As Teachers, and others, have a rich background and extensive resources to support families in our community. We are fortunate to have choices, and to be able to make decisions, as parents, as to what programs we feel will best support our children and our families.

“We decided to register Anthony in preschool to give him the opportunity to learn through play and for the chance to play with other children his age.  We wanted to ensure that Anthony will have had a variety of play based learning experiences and to have built a very solid foundation of skills built through these experiences for when he starts kindergarten this fall. We would strongly recommend preschool to other parents because it's fun, enriching and instills a love of learning in children. Anthony absolutely loves his teachers and they know everything!” - Thelma (Anthony’s Mom)

“Anthony values his time in school and you can see that in his enthusiasm and even in his non-verbal communication. His body language on the carpet has changed from not wanting to sit there, to now wanting to sit in the front row so he can be part of the discussion! Anthony can now listen to the story and information given to him, and in return ask questions related to the topic we are focusing on.  
We are continuing to focus on his journal work encouraging him to take his time and do his best work!” – Tayler Stojke (Anthony’s Teacher)

“We are so proud of Anthony's new found independence and confidence that he has in himself when learning and exploring new concepts. It's an amazing joy to see our son love to learn.  We know that Anthony is now ready for Kindergarten and he has a very solid foundation. “- Thelma (Anthony’s Mom)

Building that foundation is one of the most important things a parent will do for their child! From knowing the developmental milestones and working towards them from birth (or working with organizations that can help, like Parents As Teachers) to choosing fun, interesting activities for them at home & outside your home, to being actively involved in their education from preschool or Kindergarten on; each of these steps helps to build that foundation.

The most important part of that foundation? A love of learning!! All things can be achieved if your child is excited about learning and being a student of the world! I had the Mom of a student at Les P'Tits Trésors (the Francophone preschool program) describe this perfectly when asked about her daughter’s preschool experience, “ V’s ability to share her life, ideas and feelings has grown incredibly since beginning preschool. V often comes home with stories of her friends, questions about the world and a keenness to learn more and share her thoughts!” That sounds like a little learner who is excited and ready to take on her career as a student!

The data from the ECMap Project clearly tells us that a lot of our children are heading off to Kindergarten without that solid foundation. Only 41.9% of Kindergarten children in Brooks and the County of Newell are developing appropriately in all five developmental domains. To me, that sounds like a very shaky foundation to be building all of our classrooms on. The community we live in is rich in resources and programs. It’s time for all of us who work in this field to be more active in reaching out to families! We hope this message reaches those who need it most.

- CP


Brooks & County Immigration Services

Brooks Early Learning Academy

Brooks Preschool

Duchess Preschool

Les P'Tits Trésors.

Parents As Teachers
Grasslands Intervention Offices
403.362.8729 ext 116

SPEC Parent Link Center

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