The Early Years, Birth to Age 6
These are an extremely important time for healthy growth and development. This is when a child’s brain and body are developing at a rapid rate. Children grow and develop at different rates, making each child unique. Parents and care givers may notice delays or differences in children when compared to developmental milestone guidelines or that set them apart from their peers (children of similar age). This can be worrisome for parents.
What is Early Childhood Programming?
It Takes A Village Educational Society partners with Play Days day homes and specific preschools to administer funding for children who qualify. We collaborate with sites to provide services to children and their families such as speech, language, occupational, physical and behavioural therapy.
Why Bother With an Early Childhood Screen, anyway?
This Early Childhood “check-up” (like taking your child to the doctor, an eye check-up and the dentist) is an important first step to detect developmental delays, health concerns, or disabilities. Seeking out help early is better than the “see if they grow out of it” approach. Research indicates that early intervention is very effective in supporting a child’s overall development in; learning, regulation, readiness for school, and play and social skills. Early intervention is a collaborative process aimed at helping children grow and develop along with their families and extended support systems (i.e. day homes/daycare, teachers, extended family). Alberta Education provides Early Childhood funding for 3-5 year olds to support these formative years.
What is Developmental Screening?
In August/September, parents of all children 4 years of age who are starting their Pre-Kindergarten year are invited to fill out consent forms allowing their child to be screened by an SLP (Speech Language Pathologist) and/or an OT (Occupational Therapist). Parents of children who are 3 years of age who are identified by a parent, provider or teacher as having significant delays (or are not meeting developmental milestones as expected) are also encouraged to fill out a consent form for screening. Children participate in free 15 minute screens with an SLP and/or an OT to measure and assess their communication and fine motor skills development. Children who require further assessment or supports are identified and parents are contacted with next steps in the process. Parents may withdraw at any time.
What is a Speech & Language (SLP) screen/assessment?
An SLP will assess development in communication ( speech sounds, expressive language [vocabulary], grammar, fluency, sentence length), language comprehension (following directions, answering questions), stuttering, voice, social , and play skills (greet, engage with adults and peers, turn-taking).
What is an Occupational Therapy (OT) screen/assessment?
The OT will screen a child’s fine motor skills (upper body strength, coordination, grasping, dexterity, use of 2 hands together) and school readiness activities such as drawing/coloring/cutting. Self-regulation skills will also be observed during the screening i.e. attention, focus, emotional and impulse control, organization, following instructions, and transitioning between activities. Should delays be identified, the OT may also later assess daily living activities such as: self-care (feeding, dressing, toileting), productivity (play, learning, growing), and leisure (recreational activities, hobbies).
How is a screening booked?
- Follow the link to It Takes a Village’s online registration system School Plus to create a free account.
- Complete registration where you will be required to upload a copy of your child’s Birth Certificate
- Complete the SLP (Speech & Language) and/or OT (Occupational) consents
- Check with your playschool teacher or day home provider for screening dates schedules
*If you are not contacted about booking a screening, email email@example.com or call 403.932-650. Screens will be booked and completed during September to meet the Sept. 30 deadline for full funding. Late screening may occur up to January for pro-rated funding. Parents can withdraw from the process (in writing) at any time throughout the year. If a child qualifies for funding, parents will be contacted by a therapist. To proceed in the process, they will be sent an email to log in to School Plus to complete a Consent for It Takes a Village to apply for funding on the family’s behalf. In order to receive funding a child must be attending one of It Takes a Village’s sites consistently for the entire school year where they participate in Educational programming provided by the playschool teacher/Ed Consultant/therapists/provider.
How is Early Intervention funded?
If a delay is found, Alberta Education provides funding to help children be prepared for Kindergarten and Grade 1. Screens and programming are provided free to parents if their child is consistently attending a play/preschool or Play Days day home for the school year, parental consent is provided, teacher/provider is on board and educational programming occurs at the site.
Alberta Education (AB ED) funding is either:
*Mild & Moderate (M&M): Up to two years, Pre-K year (4 years old) and Kindergarten year
*Program Unit Funding (PUF): Available for severe delays for up to three years for 3-5 year olds (2 years of play/preschool and 1 year in Kindergarten year).
An IPP (Individual Program Plan) will be developed for each child with Mild & Moderate or PUF funding and programming outlining the child’s background, strengths, areas for growth, recommended strategies, and updates over the year. Parents sign and receive a copy mid-year and a Final Copy in the spring. Team meetings with parents occur three times per year for PUF funded children.
Who is It Takes a Village Educational Society??
We are an ECS (Early Childhood Services) that is a non-profit organization funded by Alberta Education. We also run It Takes a Village Kindergarten located in Cochrane in the Bow Ridge Plaza.
We are very grateful for the playschool and day home programs who invite us to their sites and enable us to provide these services. This significantly benefits all current and future children at each site as teachers, assistants and providers learn more about the development of young children, special needs and developing strong foundational skills in; play, social, peer and early academics. Universal strategies and resources are used to benefit all children at each site.
Questions? Concerns? Please contact the Administrator of It Takes a Village Educational Society anytime.