Community Comment by Tracy Spannier
A celebration of Revelstoke’s Children coming on January 12!
What is happening in Revelstoke? Why are Revelstoke children doing so well compared to kids growing up in other communities? These are questions the Early Childhood Development Committee is often asked by other communities. The answer has a lot to do with families and community working together to support our children.
The Early Development Instrument research shows that provincially 30.9 per cent of children entering kindergarten were vulnerable in at least one aspect of their development. The Human Early Learning Partnership states that, “to be vulnerable means that a child is at increased risk of encountering difficulties in the school years and beyond.” In the last data collection, the vulnerability rate in Revelstoke was well below the provincial average at 10 per cent.
It’s not just young children that are doing well in our community. School District #19 (Revelstoke) students are recognized for outstanding success. In particular, district-wide literacy goals have been exceeded. This September marked the eighth year in a row that over 90 per cent of students entered Grade 4 with the reading skills they need for continued success. In addition to these successes, Revelstoke is also home to provincially and nationally recognized young athletes, youth leaders and deeply talented artists, musicians, dancers and singers. The list goes on and we have much to celebrate!
On January 12, 2012, the Children’s Charter sub-committee is inviting Revelstoke to come out and celebrate our children. The celebration begins by highlighting artwork and performances contributed by Revelstoke children. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. with the smooth sounds of the Revelstoke Secondary Jazz Band and artwork by local children on display. Some short performances will be provided by Revelstoke youngsters starting at 6 p.m. Following the performances, the new Revelstoke Children’s Charter will be introduced and signed by representatives of local government, businesses and organizations.
In addition, the Revelstoke Early Childhood Development committee will be presenting two awards. Nominations have been sought for the Family Friendly Business Award and the Family Friendly Workplace Award. The family friendly business award considers items such as the overall environment, layout and amenities, public washroom with a change table (in Mom’s and Dad’s washroom), space to rest or breastfeed, play area with books or clean quiet toys, and access for strollers. A family friendly workplace is one where employees feel supported in meeting both their work and family commitments. A family friendly workplace may have policies that enable workers to balance their responsibilities, may offer flexible schedules, parental leave or resources and support.
After an intermission, the Revelstoke Early Childhood Development Committee is inviting interested community members to attend a presentation on how our community is supporting young children and families. This same presentation has been provided to community and education leaders in Montreal, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Kelowna, Coquitlam and Canmore and it will be great to finally provide it for Revelstoke!
Locally, a Children’s Charter has been developed to raise awareness and understanding of the roles we each have in striving for the best outcomes for all children. We can all work together to become champions for children’s rights, raise awareness of the value of children, and to take action to ensure the best quality of life for each child in our community.
Regina Understanding the Early Years project describes a children’s charter as “a positive vision of what we believe all children need and should have the right to experience. The Charter will serve as a tool to build consensus, bring public attention to the needs of children, and a framework for joint accountability for the outcomes of our children.”
The second phase of the Revelstoke Children’s Charter project will include learning opportunities and consultation with local children.
Tracy Spannier is the Revelstoke Early Childhood Development Coordinator and a member of the Children’s Charter sub-committee. For more information she can be contacted at 250-837-6669, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Revelstoke Children’s Charter can be viewed online at www.revelstokeearlychilddevelopment.com
Community Comment is a new feature in the Revelstoke Times Review. We invite community members to contribute opinion pieces focusing on issues that matter in our community. We welcome individual columnists or those representing an organization. Please contact Editor Aaron Orlando for more information.