Our Philosophy

Submitted by ncaungsa on Thu, 07/23/2015 - 3:36pm

Our Children - Our Future

The foundations of all the capacities that people need to be successful in life are established in early childhood. Scientific discoveries reveal that opportunities to promote brain development occur much earlier than previously believed:

  • At birth, a baby's brain contains over 100 billion immature neurons. With stimulation, these cells send signals to other cells and begin to form connections, called synapses.

  • The stimulation needed for these connections to form comes from everyday experiences from the moment the baby is born.

  • The more frequent the experience, the stronger the synaptic connection.

  • A baby's brain produces trillions of synapses, more than can possibly be used. Synapses not stimulated through repeated experiences are pruned and die.

In other words, early experiences literally shape how the brain gets built. As connections form stronger, more entrenched pathways, the structure for all future learning and health is incrementally built. A strong foundation increases the likelihood that children will develop the positive social, emotional, cognitive and physical skills they will need to be healthy children and healthy future citizens.

Child development occurs in all areas at the same time - you can't do one without the other. Physical, cognitive, emotional and social development are inextricably linked and influenced by the developing brain.

Brain connections are formed through stimulation - and relationships are the key. The reciprocal, two- way, "serve and return" nature of them are what create the type of experiences that build healthy brains, bodies and minds. It is the everyday experiences, such as engaging an infant in smiles, reading to a baby, teaching a toddler about emotions, helping a preschooler learn to deal with fears - in other words, guidance, communication and warmth - that best support healthy development.

High quality early experiences are the critical first steps for children to reach their full potential (VIDEO).

Supporting parents and their children during the early years - a smart investment!

When children are given a healthy start to life, they are more successful in school and in their social relationships. Early success in life leads to greater success in school, stronger relationships and more active citizenship, as well as a marked decrease in mental and physical illness, teen pregnancy, substance abuse, addictions and criminal behaviour. By intentionally funding, linking, integrating, marketing and evaluating supports for all families of young children, we have an opportunity to demonstrate, as a society, how much we care about our children - our future.

Child development does not occur in a vacuum. Children develop within families who live and work within communities large and small. Creating developmentally -supportive environments is everyone's responsibility.

In the early years particularly, parents are the most significant influence in a child's lifeThey nurture, support, protect and stimulate, and are the mediators of all their children's experiences within the family, with others and with their community. These primary caregivers need information, support and guidance - now more than ever.

Why?

Parenting resources and programs can help parents LEARN and GROW with their child:

  • Recent studies show there are meaningful gaps in parents' knowledge about when children achieve physical, cognitive, emotional, and social developmental milestones.

  • The early years are when the patterns of many relationships are set - within the family and within the community.

  • Programs offer parents a chance to learn about how to help their children learn and grow. In addition, parents learn from each other about their children and themselves, build vital social connections, and begin to create a sense of community in Calgary.

  • While more than 60% of first-time parents-to-be attend prenatal classes, less than 15% attend parenting classes after the baby's birth. Yet, when asked what would support their role as parents, parents consistently say they need opportunities to meet and share experiences with other parents - to learn about their children and to normalize the experience.   In other cities...

Programs and resources need to be readily ACCESSIBLE and UNIVERSAL:

 Many young parents have moved away from extended family, following work opportunities across Canada and around the world. 

  • Nearly 70% of mothers with preschool children are in the labor force and fathers are much more involved in parenting.

  • Families come in many diverse blends, shapes and sizes.

  • 25% of Canadian children have one or more developmental concerns, and 70% of these children come from middle income, two parent families. In other words, developmental concerns are not solely the result of living in low income families and marginal communities.

  • All families have questions; all families need support. Universal support with targeted strategies will give us the best chance of reaching all families.