The Drumheller Early Childhood Development (DECD) Coalition vision is that all children in Drumheller and area will reach their full potential through nurturing relationships with their family while supported by a community committed to their success, and that every child will be happy, healthy and prepared for success in life.

The Early Development Instrument is a tool to measures children’s ability to meet age-appropriate milestones in a variety of developmental domains. Coalitions across Alberta receive their community’s unique EDI data and, along with other community information, they can explore results to find what is working well and what supports for children and their families can be improved. Physical Health & Well-being has been identified through the EDI as an area where local children are experiencing difficulties in Drumheller and area.

The Plan

In 2013, coalition members completed a needs assessment to seek out the assets and gaps in the community for families raising children 0-5 years in the Drumheller area.  Many assets were identified including parks, recreation, and natural spaces. One of the frequently identified needs was for an indoor play space for children and families to access, especially during cold weather months. 

As a way of responding to this need for space and to increase children’s opportunities to be physically active, goals were developed to offer barrier-free access to a safe, indoor play space from fall to spring, to increase the amount of physical activity for 0-5 year olds, to offer a weekend activity for those parents who work weekdays.

The Outcomes

The DECD Coalition then partnered with the Town of Drumheller to offer free weekly indoor play time on Sundays at the Badlands Community Centre. The field house is open to families with children 0-5 (and their older siblings), and age-appropriate equipment is made available for families to play with. Throughout the duration of the program’s existence, they have offered information and activity ideas for parents related to building physical literacy (e.g. 10 games to play on scooter board, what to do with a ball, etc.).

Evaluation of the program has occurred in several ways: Badlands Community Facility staff monitor attendance weekly, and we have seen a steady increase over time in the number of families attending.  Coalition staff has also attended indoor free play time to gather feedback from parents about their experiences.

The program became very popular and the community provided feedback to keep it running throughout the year.

Each year the Coalition works with the community to find a sponsor to cost-match with the Town of Drumheller to ensure this service continues. The DECD Coalition supports advertising for the programming and facility booking, and advocating each year for its importance.

 

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