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Renowned early childhood development expert Dr. Jean Clinton will be in Northern Saskatchewan later this month for a series of workshops.
Clinton is a specialist in early childhood development, parenting, asset building and an advocate for children’s rights. Last year, she was in the province to speak at the Imagine Our Future conference in Moose Jaw, which was covered by kidSKAN (shown at right).
Clinton will speak about the importance of the early years and how most of a child’s brain development takes place from age 0-6.
She will be at the La Loche Community Hall on May 21, with a presentation for service providers at 1:30 and one for families at 4 p.m.
On May 22, she will hold events for families and service providers together. She will be at Buffalo Narrows Community Complex at 10 a.m. That same day, she will be at the Ile-a-la-Crosse Community Hall at 4:30 p.m.
Child care is available at each event. There will be snacks at the morning event in Buffalo Narrows and meals to follow the two afternoon events.
A national prenatal nutrition program has shown some strong results among expecting mothers, according to an evaluation from kidSKAN’s Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine and others.
In an effort to improve the health and social supports for vulnerable pregnant mothers in Canada, the Government of Canada established the Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program (CPNP) in 1995. Since then, 331 projects in over 2,000 communities have served approximately 50,000 women per year.
To test whether the program was effective, the Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit (SPHERU) was contracted by the Public Health Agency of Canada to follow up with participants and assess participants’ personal health practices and birth outcomes. The results of their quantitative evaluation were published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health in 2012.
Along with Dr. Angela Bowen from the College of Nursing at the University of Saskatchewan, Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine and SPHERU colleagues compared measures of maternal health behaviours (weight gain, vitamin supplement use, smoking reduction, drinking cessation, and breastfeed initiation and duration) and birth outcomes (preterm birth, low birth weight, small and large for gestational age and poor neonatal health) to participant involvement in the CPNP program.
While much research looks at the health of Aboriginal children, less is known about their nutrition. A recent Statistics Canada report should fill in some of these gaps.
The report, “Dietary habits of Aboriginal children,” was authored by Kellie A. Langlois, Leanne C. Findlay and Dafna E. Kohen, and was released in Statistics Canada’s Health Reports in April.
It is based on data from the 2006 Aboriginal Children’s Survey, and looks at First Nations children living off reserve, Inuit children and Metis children, and the frequency with which they eat certain foods.
Canada and Australia are the first countries to make strides towards national early childhood monitoring, with the implementations of their respective Early Development Instruments (EDI).
This was one of the messages in UNICEF’s latest Innocenti report, Child Well-Being in Rich Countries: A comparative review.
As the report states, “There is a long way to go before any nation can say that it has adequate information about the early years development of all its children. But a start has been made in Australia and Canada towards making known the proportion of the nation’s young children who are developmentally ‘on track’, ‘at risk’ or ‘vulnerable.’”
The EDI is a checklist completed by teachers in students’ first year of school. For every student, the teacher answers around 100 questions regarding five domains of early childhood development: physical health and well-being, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive skills, and communication skills.
Parents’ addictions can result their children’s mental health, leaving effects into adulthood, according to a new study from Statistics Canada.
The report, “Trajectories of psychological distress among Canadian adults who experienced parental addiction in childhood,” was written by Kellie A. Langlois and Rochelle Garner. It notes that a parent’s addiction is the most common example of harmful exposures for children and can mean children that face depression, anxiety and anger into adulthood. Estimates are that childhood exposure to addiction is fairly common, with rates of about 16 per cent among men and 20 per cent among women.
UNICEF’s latest Innocenti report card is out, and once again shows Canada falling behind in many child development outcomes.
Report Card 11, Child Well-Being in Rich Countries: A comparative overview, examines the level of child well-being throughout the world’s wealthiest nations.
As the report shows, Canada is stuck in the middle of the 29 countries in many areas. There are 26 indicators across five dimensions: material well-being, health and safety, education, behaviours and risks, and housing and environment.
Overall, we rank 17th and is in the middle ranks for four of the five dimensions: material well-being (15th), education (14th), behaviours and risks (16th), and housing and environment (11th). More troubling is our low ranking in the area of health and safety, as only two other countries, Latvia and Romania, received lower grades.
In areas such as infant mortality, Canada, along with the United States and the United Kingdom, all fall to the bottom third of the table. A CBC story on the report points out that the situation in Canada is especially bad for First Nations communities, as poverty, isolation and access to health care can pose serious problems.
Despite talk about flexible workplaces, there is still inertia when it comes to different work arrangements, says an article in Rotman Magazine, published by the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.
Our colleague Dr. Paul Kershaw from the Human Early Learning Partnership at UBC has been in the middle of his Generation Squeeze campaign about how parents of young families in Canada are being squeezed for time, services and money.
More flexible workplaces, in terms of schedules or opportunities to work at home, could be one way to lessen the strain on families.
The atrium of Saskatoon City Hospital was filled with children touching brains made of Jello, playing Twister, and dropping eggs encased in little helmets last Sunday, March 17. These activities were part of the maze of interactive stations at Brain Blast, an annual open house to teach people about how their brains work, and how to protect them.
Paul Kershaw of the Human Early Learning Partnership, our colleague and collaborator, has been busy since coming to Saskatchewan in 2011 for the release of the Generation Squeeze report card and campaign.
Most recently, the campaign launched its new website. The site includes infographics that break down visually how young families with children are being “squeezed” for time, income and services when compared with previous generations. There’s a media section with the news releases, collected media coverage and Paul’s commentaries in newspapers like the Vancouver Sun, the Province and the Globe and Mail.
Beyond simply being a source of information, the site is designed to let people know how to get involved. It’s not a surprise then social media has a strong presence on the site, which is connected to the Facebook page, Twitter feeds related to the campaign, even Pinterest. “It is going to pay dividends,” Kershaw told kidSKAN.
There’s a link to YouTube where you can watch videos of interviews about the importance of a New Deal for Families.