Edmonton Citywide

Edmonton Early Years Coalition ​​​​

Gloria Chalmers (r) discusses strategies to approach policy-makers in Edmonton.
​​​​The Edmonton Early Years Coalition canvassed candidates in the September 2013 municipal election on their attitudes towards early childhood development. Prospective city councilors and school broad trustees were asked the following questions:
  • If elected, how will you champion the early years in your work as Mayor/Councilor/Trustee?
  • Will you support the City’s/Board’s current initiatives focused on young children and their families?
  • Do you have any new or different initiatives, aimed at improving the developmental results for young children, to propose?
 
Twenty-six council and 21 school board candidates responded. Their answers were posted on the Edmonton Early Years Coalition website so that voters could see where they stood on the early years.
 

Strengths

  • The coalition represents coalitions in Edmonton and the surrounding area, as well as a variety of different agencies. It is able to draw upon different points of view, resources and expertise. It has great potential to present a strong, unified voice for children and families and advocate for policy and programming changes.
  • The coalition has benefitted from the commitment and shared enthusiasm of the Edmonton Public Library, Edmonton Catholic School District, City of Edmonton, Parent Link centres, and agencies, as well as early educators and caregivers.  
 

Challenges

  • It can be difficult to enlist volunteers given the heavy time commitments many people face in their daily work and family lives.
  • Connecting with the most vulnerable populations in the city, including multicultural and immigrant communities and the poor and socially disadvantaged is an enormous challenge. Many of the issues that they experience are complex.   
 

Coalition action

  • A website has been developed to connect and serve all Edmonton area coalitions.
  • The EDI data has been used as a starting point to talk about early child development with city councilors and administrators, MLAs and cabinet ministers, local school boards, and Children and Family Services.
  • The coalition organized “Together We Raise Tomorrow” discussions in the fall of 2013 in response to the Government of Alberta’s call for community input into creating a new policy framework for ECD and child poverty. More than 50 people participated, ranging from United Way to Edmonton Public Schools and Multicultural Health Brokers representatives. Participants talked about the need to invest in the early years, address barriers to accessing existing services, improve public transportation and involve businesses and employers in supporting families.
  • In late 2013, the citywide coalition met with the Downtown Business Association to see how it could get the business community more involved with the work that the coalitions are doing. Coalitions plan on connecting with businesses in their communities to encourage them to be more child- and family-friendly, including in their employment policies.
  • A chart (Linking and Leveraging) was created of the many organizations and initiatives that support early child development at the local, regional and provincial levels. This gave the coalition a better understanding of the different actors involved in early development and how they might be able to work together. http://www.earlychildhoodedm.ca/files/Linking_and_Leveraging_ECD_Coalitions_Oct%201.pdf
     
    "We need a voice for early childhood in the city that is knowledgeable about early child development. We need to learn from many different sources, and we have the potential for that because of the broad representation on the coalitions. We can become a coordinated voice for children and families"
    Gloria Chalmers, citywide coalition member and chair of the South East Edmonton Early Childhood Community Coalition
     
Edmonton Early Years Coalition
Gloria Chalmers: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Posted: April 26, 2014