Elk Point Kids Score High on Provincial Early Development Study

Elk Point’s Champions for Children Committee has completed a research project as part of a provincial study into early childhood development. Volunteer on the committee, Mona McGinnis says the study, which lasted five years and has now wrapped up, displayed the kids from Elk Point scored very high.

“It started out five years ago, a research project out of the University of Alberta,” McGinnis explains, “it looks at how kids develop. They did some assessments on kids in Kindergarten and then they look at community resources to see how that may impact, one way or another.” The group included all the Elk Point kids in Kindergarten, excluding those who had known developmental disabilities. Alberta Education funded the coalition, along with the University of Alberta. “Our kids, in Elk Point, scored above the Alberta average in development, in all areas, except language and thinking skills. It was a one-time survey, so it doesn’t say much about before or after.” Results of the study can be found on EPmap.ca, here’s the link to Elk Point’s results.

Elk Point is a small community of 1500 people, unlike neighbouring municipalities, the Town has little resources, explains McGinnis, “one of the tasks, as a committee, was to identify resources that might contribute to early childhood development. Well, when you look at what we have in Elk Point, compared to other communities, we’re considered a  Have-Not Community. Yet, there were our kids scoring above the provincial average.”

The University of Alberta was looking at the socio-economic factors of the study, says McGinnis, “what they wanted to theorize was that the higher economic status of the community, the better off the kids would do. That has shown not to be so.”

We are a rural community, self-reliant, we make-do, and if we really want something, we make it happen! I’m proud of what we did and I’m proud of our community. – Mona McGinnis Champions for Children

The committee was allotted some money to help promote early childhood development and the results of the survey. The committee has commissioned a local artist, Herman Poulin, to help design a mural, explains McGinnis, “in June we’re going to be unveiling the mural that he developed depicting the five domains of early childhood development.” Different groups involved in early childhood developed helped design the mural and paint a different panel, then Poulin took the paintings and brought them together to make the final mural.

“It’s a multi-generational painting, we had people at the senior’s lodge painting, two school groups, an adult group through Further Ed and the committee did one panel,” explains McGinnis. The mural will be hung on the north exterior wall of Play to Learn Daycare. The wall is exposed to 50th avenue, which is a busy route in the town. The committee worked out a back-up plan should the Town ever develop on the lot next to Play to Learn, the mural will be moved to north of the AG Ross Arena. “It will be set up in a way that it would be easy to move, in the event the Town builds anything next to the daycare,” explains McGinnis. The mural will be unveiled the first weekend of June.

The group also used some of the funds to sponsor local people who were pursuing careers and furthering their education in the early childhood development field. The committee bought some developmental toys and donated them to the local daycare, Play to Learn, which is looking at opening up an indoor play area for kids. The group organized a parenting workshop and there will be a kids show, Mary Lambert, on Friday January 29th, that was funded by the group.

Some fantastic news for the group is, they’ve been awarded another $22,000, says McGinnis. The group will be meeting in mid-February to develop ideas for Phase II of the EPmap study.

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