Clearview school division held early learning program clinics in Stettler and Coronation earlier this month to identify children that are not meeting one or more of their developmental milestones.
“The milestones are awareness of self and environment, cognitive skills, language and communication, fine motor, gross motor and behavior,” said early learning coordinator Eileen Johnstone.
Clearview adopted this program to identify children that are in need of early identification and to help inform parents of the importance of the developmental milestones.
“Ages three and four are critical developmental periods for children,” said Johnstone. “If a child is severely delayed in one or more areas, it could make it more difficult for a child to learn to read, to write, to pay attention in class and regulate their emotions.”
It is well researched that early identification can prevent long term problems, said Johnstone.
Alberta Education in the past had had an Early Development Initiative.
All kindergarten students in the province were surveyed.
According to Johnstone, Clearview Public Schools data that was released showed that over 27 per cent of children entering kindergarten had a delay in one or more of the developmental areas.
“Clearview Public Schools wants to assist children so that they can enter school fully prepared to learn and participate in school activities,” continued Johnstone. “Clearview employs a speech language pathologist, occupational therapist, early learning coordinators and two psychologists to assist with the screening.”
The division also receives help from an early intervention worker.
“On the screening day 20 children were screened, which goes up usually with up to 100 by the end of the school year,” said Johnstone. “Clearview Public Schools has been screening and identifying children for ten years and this program has been really successful in identifying students.”
Once the students are identified, appropriate supports are put in place within the Start Right playschool and Kindergarten classrooms to support the children to overcome any learning needs.