Early childhood development


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Early childhood development

  1. 1. Kids development from infant to toddler to child is amazing! In five short years - a fraction of a normal lifespan - a child develops the physical, thinking and language, emotional and social abilities that will stay with them for a lifetime.
  2. 2. How development happens…laying the foundation Every baby is born with billions of brain cells that represent life-long potential. Proper development requires that these brain cells connect with each other over time in a stepby-step, prescribed order.
  3. 3. Sensitive periods in early brain development Beginning in utero and continuing throughout the first years of life, there are especially sensitive periods for the developing brain. Source: Nelson, C.A. In Neurons to Neighbourhoods (2000). Shonkoff, J.& Phillips, D. (Eds.)
  4. 4. Early environments and early experiences matter … Simply put, the quality of a child’s earliest environment and exposure to positive experiences at the right stages of development has a strong influence on the course of their life path.
  5. 5. Nurturing relationships are essential … Young children experience their world in an environment of relationships.
  6. 6. ‘Serve and return’ - building the foundation for future relationships At work in the ‘serve and return’ process is the interaction of genes and experience that not only shape and modify the architecture of the developing brain, it is a key ingredient in forming relationships between young children, their parents and other caregivers.
  7. 7. Young children need each other … the importance of play It turns out mom was right when she said “go outside and play, it’s good for you!”
  8. 8. Healthy development disrupted … toxic environments When a child is raised in a constantly stressful environment we refer to this as “toxic stress.” Toxic stress is not good for anyone, but more so for the developing child.
  9. 9. The gap between what we know and what we do … By school age in Canada, more than 25 per cent of children are behind where they should be in their physical, social, language or cognitive development by the time they enter kindergarten. This applies to Alberta children as well.
  10. 10. Why does this matter so much? Equity Renewal Prosperity
  11. 11. Investing in early childhood development … 3
  12. 12. Alberta families – we’re changing Our families are different Families are smaller Most of us live in and around large cities We have more young aboriginal families, and growing numbers of young immigrant families
  13. 13. Alberta communities - we’re changing Alberta is increasingly an urban province with at least 80 per cent of us now living in and around large cities.
  14. 14. Where Do We Go From Here? Re-visiting how we provide support to young children and their families …
  15. 15. Measuring life readiness … Common indicators across sectors that consider the whole child and her “life readiness” … we know too little about them or how our young children are doing overall.
  16. 16. Building on what we know is effective … Early and intensive in home support Programs that support children and their parents
  17. 17. A truly integrated system for early learning and care We have many examples of high quality early learning and care programs and services, but …
  18. 18. High quality, accessible and affordable opportunities for early childhood learning and care Well prepared and highly skilled staff Small play group sizes Age-appropriate learning activities and materials Language-rich environment Warm relationships between children and staff
  19. 19. Creating the village … What can we do – together – to ensure all Alberta children have opportunities to grow, develop and thrive?
  20. 20. We're all in this together ... As individuals, families, communities and ‘communities of best practice’ we all have a stake in ensuring healthy early childhood development for Alberta children.
  21. 21. www.health.alberta.ca/about/OCMOH-Reports.html