Child educators and professionals from across the Southeast region took the opportunity to identify development trends and behaviours in young children across Saskatchewan.
Participants from Grenfell, Whitewood, Wolseley, Montmartre and the Prairie Valley School Division attended the Data to Action presentation held on May 3 in Grenfell.
The presentation detailed and explained results from a recent study involving children in their Early Childhood Development years (0-6 years old) from the Grenfell Study Area which is comprised of Grenfell, Wolseley, Broadview, Whitewood, Montmartre, Glenavon, Windthorst and Kendal.
The national research project titled “Understanding the Early Years” is a federally funded community-based project which helps members of communities better understand the needs of their young children and families so that they can strengthen or design local programs and services to meet those needs. The project collected information on local programs and resources, as well as information on local Census Canada data. The project undertook an assessment of the developmental achievements of kindergarten-age children, and, with parents and guardians, conducted interviews on family and community factors that influence children’s development.
The study revealed one in four children in Southeast Saskatchewan is challenged in one or more areas of development; although presentation facilitators from Regional KidsFirst emphasized the importance of digesting the information in context and not viewing the numbers in isolation. They told the audience that several variables must be considered when observing the research, including external factors such as Community Risk Indicators (percentage of teen mothers, percentage of single parents, percentage of adults with low education etc.).
The study was conducted with Early Childhood Measures which include the Early Development Instrument (EDI) completed by kindergarten teachers, In-Hospital Birth Questionnaire completed by nurses in hospital for babies born in Saskatchewan and Community Risk Indicators where Census data is analyzed by the Early Childhood Development Unit and Ministry of Education.
Statistics discussed and reviewed during the Data in Action presentation reflected the findings of the EDIs conducted at Grenfell Elementary Community School, Dr. Isman Elementary School, Broadview School, Whitewood Elementary School and Montmartre School.
The EDI measures the outcomes of a child’s pre-school (0-6) experiences as they influence their readiness to learn. EDI has been shown to predict how children will perform in elementary school and beyond. It does not measure teacher or school performance, but identifies vulnerabilities within a community and shows areas which can be addressed to further the development of essential skills.
The information and statistics reported in the study were pooled together from the 2008-2011 administration of the EDI and included the assessment of 159 kindergarten students.
Five major areas deemed critical for success in school were measured through the EDI and include: Communication Skills and General Knowledge; Physical Health and Well-Being; Social Competence; Emotional Maturity; and Language and Cognitive Development.
Results are as follows:
Numbers show 42.6 per cent of children in Grenfell were low in at least one Domain, proving “not fully ready for school”. The stats are compared to 30.2 per cent of Saskatchewan children and 31 per cent in the Grenfell Study Area.14.6 per cent of Grenfell children ranked low in Physical Health and Well-Being, compared to 14.2 per cent of Saskatchewan kids and 11.9 per cent in the Grenfell Study Area.19.5 per cent of Grenfell students registered low in Social Competence, compared to 9.6 per cent of Saskatchewan children and 10.7 per cent of children in the Grenfell Study Area.EDI results show 24.4 per cent of Grenfell students ranked low in Emotional Maturity compared with 11.3 per cent of students across Saskatchewan and 12.6 per cent of children in the Grenfell Study Area.19.5 per cent of children in Grenfell showed low performance in Language and Cognitive Development compared to 12.3 per cent of children across Saskatchewan and 10.7 per cent of children in the Grenfell Study Area.19.5 per cent of students in Grenfell showed a weakness in Communication and General Knowledge compared with 14 per cent of Saskatchewan students and 13.2 per cent of students in the Grenfell Study Area. Funding from the Southeast Regional Intersectoral Committee will provide a $2,000 Seeds to Success grant for the Grenfell Study Area to address needs of school readiness as identified by the Data to Action presentation hosted by Regional KidsFirst.