The first six years of a child's life are extremely important to their development. Studies indicate that children who are nurtured and given positive attention during the early years are less likely to develop learning, behavioural, emotional, and health problems.
- There is powerful new evidence from neuroscience that the early years of development from conception to age six, particularly for the first three years, set the base for competence and coping skills that affect learning, behaviour and health throughout life.
- There is also increasing evidence that many of the risks for health problems later in life (e.g., high blood pressure, Type II diabetes, some mental health problems) are set by the conditions of early life from conception to age five.
- Supportive initiatives for parents should begin as early as possible – from the time of conception – with programs targeting parent support and education.
- Alberta’s children will have a healthier future if they have a healthier beginning.
- There are nearly 270,000 children in Alberta of age six years and under.
The Alberta Government launched the Early Childhood Development Mapping Project (www.ecmap.ca ), 2009-2013 and again in 2016, to gather and analyze information related to child development, and assist communities in interpreting results and forming early childhood development coalitions. After a lot of good work by kindergarten teachers and volunteers, we have, in effect, a census of child development in our city.
In Lethbridge, 1785 children Kindergarten aged were assessed.
In the area of Physical Health and Well-being, 24.9% of children in Lethbridge were found to be experiencing difficulty or experiencing great difficulty. This is very similar to the provincial average of 24.1%.
More specifically, there was a larger range when looking at the sub-communities in Lethbridge, with between 17.9% and 35.8% experiencing difficulty or great difficulty.
As a result of the EDI findings in Lethbridge, The Lethbridge Early Years Coalition, in partnership with the Lethbridge Sport Council and the Lethbridge Public Library, have launched a new program in Lethbridge that is FREE for children ages 2-5 with their parents and caregivers.
For full details on the Lethbridge EDI results visit https://ecdcoalitions.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Lthbrg_CommunityProfile_Spring2014_F.pdf
What is a 'Roving Gym?
"Roving Gyms" offer a free indoor play space for parents and caregivers of preschool aged children. This program will encourage physical literacy, allow families to connect with other families, while children to have a great time playing!
When are Roving Gyms?
Roving Gyms will be held through the winter months (October-March) when the weather outside might keep us from moving! Roving Gyms will be held at a variety of times, including daytime, evening and sometimes Saturdays!
For more information about Roving Gyms, including the schedule and online sign up, please visit the LEYC website http://www.lethbridgeearlyyears.ca/roving-gyms.html