Northwest Peace

North West Peace Early Childhood Community Coalition

Community outreach was a big challenge in the sparsely populated, spread out Northwest Peace region. It takes more than two hours to from one end of the community to the other. Given that most parents do not have time to drive long distances to attend coalition meetings or events, the coalition decided to go to them.
In addition to holding formal meetings with parents in different parts of the community, the coalition distributed EDI and other information to local day cares, family day homes and Parent Link Centers, so that service providers could pass it on to parents. 

Community at a glance

The Northwest Peace Early Childhood Community  encompasses the Town of Peace River and stretches north 57 kilometres to Dixonville and 160 kilometres east to Red Earth Creek. Each little town has its own school and library. With a population of 6,300, Peace River is the largest town in the area
The region sits on the oilsands that feed Alberta’s oil industry. The industry creates an influx of workers in the winter. Red Earth, for example, can have about 300 residents in the summer and 3,000 in the winter. There are also a number of First Nations communities in the area, as well as a large French-speaking population in the town of Peace River and the two communities bordering it.

EDI baseline results

Thirty-eight per cent of young children are experiencing difficulty in one or more areas of development. About a third are developing appropriately in all five areas of development.


The coalition had representation from Family and Community Support Services, the Town of Peace River, the Peace Parent Link Center, a local day care, an Alberta Health Services Early Interventionist, among others. 


  • The long distances make it difficult to connect with community members and represent their diverse interests.
  •  Some small communities have so few young children that schools have to scramble in the fall to pull together a Kindergarten class.
  •  The coalition has been inactive since its seed grant funding ran out and it could no longer afford to have a paid coordinator.

Coalition action

  • Community outreach: The coalition coordinator visited all the small communities and connected with local agencies and parents. She also met with town councils, library staff, playschool teachers and service providers to tell them about the ECD Mapping Initiative. The coordinator also attended community events, such as the preschool health fair in Mamatwan, which is located between two reserves (Cadotte Lake and Little Buffalo Reserve) in Northern Sunrise County.
  • Directory of early childhood resources: The coalition partnered with Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) to create a directory of programs, services and facilities, from play groups to parks, for children and families.  Developing the directory with FCSS has ensured its sustainability. FCSS has committed itself to reprinting the directories every year.
  • Training for parents:  The coalition co-sponsored a “Kids have Stress Too” workshop (September 2103) with the Peace Park Link Centre. The workshop, which was led by ECMap staff, provided free babysitting for parents. The coalition also organized a “Remembering to Play” workshop with the help of FCSS and the Town of Peace River. The full-day workshop (November 2013) was led by Vince Gowmon, an expert on play.
  • Resources for parents: ‘Language bins’ filled with handouts on early language and literacy development will be set up in Parent Link Centres. Parents will be able to borrow materials from these bins.
"We had a really big area and really struggled with that. Our coordinator went out to all the outlying communities and that was the biggest thing in our experience - meeting people in our surrounding communities who were involved with early childhood."
 Kathy Budd, former coalition member
Posted: April 28, 2014