Sharing Results

Sharing ResultsSharing results

The coalition decided to immediately release results publicly, as well as sharing these within the community. Coalition members felt that the information should be available to anyone and any group that was interested in and wanted to work with the data. The results were presented to about 30 service providers and shared with parents through two public meetings. The coalition has also received to requests to present to groups, including the City Centre Education Project, (which brings together four schools and community-based services in nine Edmonton downtown areas), community leagues and local libraries.

 

Strengths

  • Neighbourhoods are tight-knit, have a vision for the future and have grassroots experience in working together to demand change.
  • Redevelopment brings resources and investment from the city into the community.
  • The coalition has a committed core team with a clear sense of direction and plan, realistic expectations, a respectful, collaborative approach and strong community links. A good documentation and record-keeping system is in place, which makes it easier to integrate new members and groups and track activities and processes.
  • A few subcommunities are doing better in their Early Development Instrument (EDI) results than the Alberta average in some areas of development.

Challenges

  • A number of neighbourhoods struggle with complex issues, including poverty, violence, addiction, and safety concerns. Residents and agencies in these areas are accustomed to having their neighbourhoods seen as “problems”, which can make it harder to engage them or try new approaches.
  • New Canadians can experience a great deal of stress in navigating an unknown culture and language, finding housing and jobs, experiencing isolation and racism, and sometimes coping with pre-immigration trauma.
  • Public awareness about the importance of early development may be lacking. Cultural perspectives on early development may differ and need to be acknowledged and understood.
  • Forty per cent of kindergarten-aged children in Edmonton City Centre are struggling in one or more areas of development, according to EDI results.

“Many projects have tended to focus on ‘getting the message out’ with promotional materials, brochures and posters. But that’s a one-way exchange. It doesn’t help us understand what’s really going on in the community. You get so much more from having a conversation.”

Bev Parks, coalition chair and executive director,
Norwood Child and Family Resource Centre

 

Strategies

  • Focus on the most vulnerable. Intercultural and hard-to-reach families are the priority.
  • Work with existing groups and information. The coalition is making use of information gathered during a recent neighbourhood door-knocking survey initiated by the Norwood Child and Family Resource Centre, for example.
  • Start purposeful conversations with families. The coalition is exploring five topics through broad-based conversations: 1) family socio-economic contexts and pre-immigration circumstances, 2) cultural perspectives and understanding of early childhood development, 3) family experiences with services and resources, 4) services that are wanted and needed and existing gaps, and 5) parents’ aspirations for themselves and their children.
  • Connect with people on their own ground. The coalition is identifying natural gathering places and leaders, people and places that are bridges into communities — the local café where mothers gather; a respected elder who everyone comes to for advice.
  • Make stories heard. A newsletter will be launched early in 2013 to provide a forum for community voices, improve understanding of differing cultural perspectives on family roles and give service agencies and policy-makers feedback and information.
  • Use sustainable tools and share resources. The coalition uses commonplace tools like SurveyMonkey, a customizable, free, online survey tool. The newsletter will use a simple template. A report summarizing community conversations, with model, survey method, questions and maps will be posted on the Norwood Care and Family Resource Centre website for anyone to use.

Positive Outcomes

  • A database of early child development stakeholders (schools, libraries, daycares, service organizations, etc.) has been compiled by pooling contact lists and through research.
  • Awareness about importance of early childhood development has been raised internally within the coalition and among the public and community agencies.
  • The coalition has begun to work cooperatively with other organizations.
  • The coalition has been able to practically respond to residents’ concerns, desires and perspectives. For example, space was provided at the Norwood Care and Family Resource Centre for a group of moms who didn’t want to join a program or service, but wanted to meet somewhere safe and welcoming. Information was provided to parents afraid of using local parks about a six-day a week volunteer cleanup of needles and debris in community parks.

Source: Early Child Development Mapping Project, https://www.ecmap.ca/Community-Development/Community-Stories/Community-Stories-for-Central-Alberta/Pages/Edmonton-City-Centre.aspx. accessed August 1, 2013.