New tools for parents.

New tools for parents.

New resources available for young families

Do you have children six and under? FAN has new resources for you.

Do you have children six and under? FAN has new resources for you.

Working with parents, health providers and early years’ professionals over the course of the last year, the Family Action Network (FAN) has developed new resources to support the growth and development of our region’s youngest residents. FAN is offering these tools to local families with a message to check their children’s development “early and often.”

“The early years are a critically important time of development during our children’s lives,” says FAN executive director Christy Anderson.

Evidence shows that the zero to six age range is a period of rapid development and growth. Changes are happening quickly through this time. Children learn to crawl, talk, walk, and are building skills in areas such as motor control, communication, and social and emotional behaviors in a very concentrated period. Early developmental screening provides a system for parents and caregivers to track and monitor a child’s development.

Anderson says, “We have been working on an early childhood development toolkit project to provide supports for families with children in this phase. The resources that have been created provide information on what to look for at each stage in a child’s development, as well as ideas on activities to do at home to encourage a child’s healthy growth.”

Three new resources — an activity book key ring, an activity magnet, and an online newsletter — are available for free to all parents in the Lower Columbia region. Parents can go to FAN’s website familyactionnetwork.ca and sign up for the newsletter.

“We heard from parents loud and clear that we needed to create resources that were accessible in a wide range of formats.” Project assistant Heather Glenn-Dergousoff explains, “Parents also told us that to be as relevant as possible, the resources should be grouped into age ranges. So, for example, we have information for the infant stage, toddler stage, pre-school stage and for when children are headed to school.”

The toolkit builds on the great work already being done in our community to support early childhood development and gives families useful tools and information. In addition to the resources, FAN is also unrolling (in partnership with several local early years’ service providers) a network of “Check Early Check Often” centres where parents can access the tools and find out more information about early developmental screening.

“It’s a win-win for the Check Early Check Often centres,” says Anderson. “These centres are places where families already feel comfortable going. Now the centres have additional supports and information for families with children in the early years’ stage.”

Parents can visit one the following Check Early Check Often Centres to pick up the new resources, seek information or arrange to participate with their child in a developmental check-up.

Beaver Valley: Beaver Valley Nursery School 250-367-7887

Rossland: Four Winds Childcare Centre 250-362-5233

Rossland StrongStart Program 250-368-6770

Trail: Trail Family and Individual Resources Society FAIR 250-364-2326

CBAL (Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy) 250-368-6770

Sunshine Children’s Centre 250-368-3166

Regional: Centre for Indigenous Nations Society (COINS) 250-231-4968