South West Early Years is a group of parents, educators, librarians, health and child care providers, service organizations, and other community partners who work with Alberta Education’s Early Child Development Mapping (ECMap) Initiative to share Early Development Instrument (EDI) data and build capacity in the community to enrich the development of children ages 0 to 5 in Southwest Edmonton.
We are committed to making a positive difference for young children in Southwest Edmonton. Please join us! Anyone with an interest in promoting and supporting early childhood development is welcome to attend our meetings, join us at events to lend a hand, find us on Facebook, and/or be on our e-mail list to receive news of upcoming events, new resource links, and news of what we are up to.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org any time!
Our Mission is to:
- Inspire Momentum about the importance of the early years
- Improve Outcomes in early development for children in Southwest Edmonton
- Build Capacity in the community to support early childhood development in Southwest Edmonton and ensure long-term sustainability of this support and of SWEY
The values that drive us include:
- Collaboration and cooperation in the community in sustained commitment to supporting children in reaching their full potential
- Responsive leadership
- Nurturing and inclusive relationships and universal accessibility
Our goals are to:
- Inspire a momentum in Southwest Edmonton about the importance of the early years and the community’s role in both supporting its children in their early years and encouraging ideal early childhood development
- Improve early development outcomes for children in Southwest Edmonton by reducing or eliminating the circumstances that contribute to children experiencing difficulty in meeting developmental milestones as they enter Kindergarten
- Build capacity and knowledge in parents, caregivers, preschool educators, policy makers and community members across Southwest Edmonton about how to recognize and enhance early childhood development for the children in their care
Our Wish for Every Child in Southwest Edmonton
A full belly, the chance to run and jump and play every day, a story every night, help when and if and as soon as he or she needs it…and loads and loads of love. ~Catherine Ripley, former SWEY co-chair
What do we Know?
What do these Results Tell Us?They tell us that we can do better. The 2014 EDI results tell us that 54.6% of children in Southwest Edmonton are demonstrating the skills and abilities we would expect them to by the time they start kindergarten. That’s good news! The results also tell us that 25.3% of children in Southwest Edmonton are having difficulty or extreme difficulty in one or more of the five developmental areas. We can do better! Check out the baseline results for each of the 11 sub-communities at: EdmSW_CommunityProfile_Spring2014_F.
Why is this Important?The first 2000 days matter! The first 2000 days is the time period from 0-5 years of age. This period is critical for brain development. Our children’s experiences in these early years have a lifelong impact on their:
- Learning and school success
- Family life and other relationships
- Mental & Physical Health
- and so forth…
What can Our Community Do?Nurturing and stimulating environments help children thrive and do well. It takes a community to build and support these environments to help our young children reach their potential. Together, we are all part of that community and we can help. We have new results about how the young children in Southwest Edmonton are developing and we’d like to share it with you. We’d also like to know what your neighbourhood has that supports the development of our youngest children – and we’d like to know what you think is missing. To help us with this, you can:
- Invite us to share the results with your community league, play group, school or business.
- Tell us about programs and services in your neighbourhoods.
- Connect with us on social media. LIKE us on Facebook or FOLLOW us on Twitter.
- Share your events/programs with SWEY and we will share them with our growing network.
- Join SWEY and help us make a difference in Southwest Edmonton.
- Help us increase awareness about the importance of early childhood development and early childhood development initiatives.
- Share your ideas about the early years with your friends, neighbours and community
- Subcommunity A: U of A Farm, Allendale, Lendrum, Pleasantview (see page 8)
- Subcommunity B: Brander, Brookside, Brookview, Bulyea, Hodgson, Ramsay, Rhatigan, Riverbend (see page 9)
- Subcommunity C: Aspen, Blue Quill Estates, Grandview, Lansdowne, Westbrook (see page 10)
- Subcommunity D: Empire Park, Malmo (see page 11)
- Subcommunity E: Blue Quill, Greenfield, Royal Gardens, Skyrattler, Sweet Grass (see page 12)
- Subcommunity F: Duggan, Ermineskin, Rideau Park, Steinhauer (see page 13)
- Subcommunity G: Carter Crest, Falconer, Haddow, Leger, Oak Hills (see page 14)
- Subcommunity H: Hodgson, MacTaggart, Magrath, Ogilvie, Terwillegar (see page 15)
- Subcommunity I: Twin Brooks (see page 16)
- Subcommunity J: Bearspaw, Keheewin (see page 17)
- Subcommunity K: Ambleside, Chapelle, Heritage Valley (Allard, Blackburne, Blackmud Creek, Callaghan, MacEwan, Richford, Rutherford), Windermere (see page 18)
SWEY Co-Hosted the 2nd I am a Parent Conference
On March 21, 2015 SWEY co-hosted the I am a Parent Conference with Mill Woods Family Resource Centre and the Mill Woods Early Childhood Coalition. We had anticipated that a ‘parenting’ conference would be popular in the Southwest but we were overwhelmed by the response and the support for the conference both from parents and caregivers but also from local businesses, organizations, and sponsors. The conference filled quickly, and we were delighted to have approximately 150 parents/caregivers attend, plus forty children in our FREE onsite childcare. With 40 or so volunteers, more than a dozen presenters, and 15 tables in our resource fair there was something for everyone. The organizing committee wants to thank everyone for all of their support and we look forwarding to exploring ideas on what is next for the I am a Parent Conference!
K-Days Pancake Supper Hosted by MLA, Matt Jeneroux – Subcommunity K
On July 25, 2013, SWEY was welcomed by MLA, Matt Jeneroux, and his Constituency Assistant, Kara, to connect with constituents amidst the aroma of delicious pancakes. Parents we met spoke highly of the family atmosphere and the feeling of safety they and their neighbours experience in their community. In addition to sharing concerns similar to many SW Edmonton families such over things such as waiting lists for affordable and accessible childcare, parents told us about a unique challenge they face as residents in a newly established and growing area of the City – the lack of infrastructure supporting young children which results in frustration over the following:
- Lack of ‘space’ available to community members for establishing children’s play groups or parent networking opportunities
- Lack of schools and other community supports that most other SW communities enjoy
- Crossing the Anthony Henday to access services in other parts of the City – a challenge for families who don’t drive and one which lengthens their children’s days and generally reduces quality family time.
Everyone we chatted with is eager to support the development and establishment of early childhood resources in their area.
Many thanks to Matt for allowing us this opportunity to hear these unique concerns. And a big thank you, too, to Heather S., a community member who joined us to lend a hand!
Southwest Edmonton Farmers’ Market – All SW Subcommunities
On July 24, 2013, SWEY was excited to connect with residents of many SW Edmonton subcommunities in the thriving and lively atmosphere of the Southwest Edmonton Farmers’ Market. Some of the key themes arising in our conversations with parents included the following:
- An appreciation for
- the Terwillegar Community Recreation Centre and the William Lutsky YMCA and the programming they provide,
- Riverbend and Whitemud Crossing Libraries,
- playgrounds and Green Shacks,
- community green space and walking paths, and
- the Farmers’ Market, of course.
- Frustration with
- Limited spaces in affordable, quality childcare and in preschools and elementary schools;
- Limited childcare options for working parents whose children are in half-day kindergarten;
- Difficulties in finding out what early childhood resources exist and where;
- Limited capacity in available children’s programs (they’re in high demand and fill so quickly!);
- Lack of children’s programming available in the evenings and on weekends for families where both parents work; and
- A lack of children’s programming that would allow a parent to take children of different ages to activities concurrently.
We heard interest in, and enthusiasm for, starting up and supporting
- moms’ and/or dads’ networking groups and children’s play groups, and
- a resource network for families new to the area.
We had a wonderful time connecting with parents and hanging out with their children and we thank everyone who stopped by to chat!
Lemonade City – Subcommunity C
On July 7, 2013, SWEY was invited to participate in Lemonade City – a celebration of the grand opening of No Frills and the first step in the rejuvenation of the Petrolia Mall property. We had the opportunity to meet with a variety of community members – children, parents, grandparents, and childcare providers who share with us their appreciation for well-established community leagues, playgrounds and spray parks, green space, the Terwillegar Community Recreation Center and the William Lutsky YMCA, and community schools. Recurring challenges included the struggle many families experience in trying to access early childhood resources – they know they’re out there but don’t know how to find them – and the overall desire for more children’s programs and services with more spaces, offered at more varied times. Many suggestions for assisting young families were enthusiastically offered including
- Locating programs and services such as indoor playgrounds (especially in winter) in central hubs such as Southgate Shopping Centre for easy access;
- A highly visible kiosk and/or website with a central ‘registry’ of early childhood supports, services and programs for one-stop ‘shopping’;
- Translation of community newsletters and flyers into various languages to allow for better awareness of events, programs and services for newcomers and immigrant families; and
- Involvement of junior and senior high school students in providing supports for young families such as babysitting and running errands.
Our Co-chair, Catherine, chats with a neighbourhood grandmother
Thank you to Michael Walters for inviting us to participate in this fun event. And thanks to everyone who braved the rain to support the children and their entrepreneurial ventures and to share their thoughts with us!
Parents’ Night Out and the Power of Play – Subcommunity E
In April 2013, Greenfield Community League opened its hall to SWEY to host a Parents’ Night Out on the Power of Play. Cora Woodman spoke to us about the qualities of a good toy and offered some helpful tips on how to play with your child to help enhance development. Parents shared their thoughts on the early childhood resources in Greenfield:
- Wednesday morning coffee at the community league is a great way to get together for a morning out, share information about raising children, and just have fun
- We’re lucky to have such a strong community league
- The playground and splash pad are great for kids – but we could use a washroom!
Greenfield parents weren’t the only ones who attended, though. We also heard from parents in other Southwest neighbourhoods such as
- Aspen Gardens – we have great natural space
- Brookview – we have great walking trails and lots of kids’ places like Café au Play, Music Together, and 4 Cats Art but we need more destinations within in walking distance and… where are all the kids – no one’s out?
- Haddow – we have a nice, safe community with lots of park activities and good access to resources like the library and Peanut Butter and Jam playgroup in Riverbend
- Keheewin – we have great ethnic diversity and a great school
- Southbrook – we have a nice creek and hiking and biking trails but we don’t have any activity opportunities like a tennis court, a recreation/fitness centre or a playground for older kids and we have no organized social groups or pick-up sports options
- Sweet Grass – we have a nice insulated neighbourhood but safety is sometimes and issue because of wildlife and we don’t have any on-going moms’ groups for networking
Concerns shared by parents in all of these neighbourhoods included a need for
- more child care and out-of-school care options and opportunities
- more affordable childcare
- more informal preschool and children’s drop-in activities because the Rec Centre programs fill up too fast
We’d love to hear from you! What are your stories? What are the great things about the community you live in for babies, toddlers, preschoolers? What are the barriers to getting the support young children in your community need? What information would help you in raising your children or caring for your grandchildren? If your community could do “one thing” for you ( a program, activity, place to meet, etc.) what would it be?
Please contact us for the following:
- Find out more about South West Early Years
- Become a Member and join us
- Become a Friend and receive our information and share your thoughts
- Volunteer and lend a hand at one of our community connection events and get to know your neighbours