Beaumont and Area ECMap Coalition
QR codes can be developed for free online, so they are a great way to share resources and information at no cost. The use of QR codes exemplifies some of the innovative, sustainable approaches taken by coalitions to inform and connect with their communities.
The community at a glance
This once bucolic Francophone farming community has one of the fastest growing populations in Canada (seventh) and Alberta (second). The population nearly doubled in the five-year period from 2006 to 2011, according to census figures. And the largest percentage of the population (13,287 people) is under the age of five. That’s nearly one in ten residents.
Beaumont attracts young families who like its small town feel and picturesque landscape. It’s also close to jobs in Edmonton, a ten-minute drive away, and nearby Nisku Industrial Park. The rapidly growing community is now scrambling to keep up with the demand for infrastructure, services and programs.
EDI baseline results
Twenty-three per cent of young children are experiencing great difficulty in one or more areas of development, below the provincial norm of nearly 29 per cent.
- The coalition is made up of a highly motivated core group of 15 members that includes teachers, child-care and other service providers, and parents.
- The community has a number of well-used facilities that provide programming for families and young children, including the Beaumont Library and the Aqua-Fit Centre.
- A volunteer-driven initiative, the Family Child Care Network of Beaumont, promotes quality child care in local day homes.
- The unemployment rate is low (2 per cent, according to 2006 census data) and incomes are comparatively high.
- The community does not have enough resources or services to respond to the growing population. Schools are overcrowded and programs and services are oversubscribed. For example, there is a 2-year waiting list at the municipally run Early Learning Child Care Centre.
- Develop resource kits: 40 early development kits were developed for parents and other caregivers. Each kit is made up of a small, bright green duffel bag filled with books selected by experts in the coalition. The kits provide parents and caregivers with information on how to support children’s development, including activities. The kits have been distributed in places that families frequent, such as day homes, the Parent Link Centre, doctor’s offices and various preschools, so that parents can borrow them.
- Survey community members: A survey of community members was launched during an outdoor Drive-in Movie Night (Sept. 2013), a family event that drew 800 people. The coalition wanted to find out how much people knew about ECMap and existing resources for families in the community. It plans on using the information to identify gaps in knowledge and services so that it can better focus its efforts.
- Participate in community events: The coalition has set up its display booth and organized activities, such as scavenger hunts, at numerous community events. One example is the community BBQ held at the Beaumont Spray Park (summer 2013). By participating in pre-existing events, the coalition is able to reach a wide audience and spend fewer resources.
- Share results: Given the high percentage of young children and potential impact of this demographic on the community, the coalition put the town council and general management committee at the top of its “who needs to know first” list. The data was then shared with elementary school principals and child care professionals, and with the wider community, largely through display boards and presentations at community events.
The message that we are trying to get out is: 'Did you know that more than one in four young children in our community are struggling developmentally? We can do better. Our children are worth it.'
Margaret Munchrath, project coordinator
Updated: April 28, 2014