Community Stories:

Lamont, Minburn and Two Hills - Using Radio to Engage Community

The new responsibilities and challenges along each stage of parenting can be overwhelming.

Grandparents and extended family are not always close by to share strategies to help new parents. This is where early childhood development coalitions can play a very important role. They offer practical ideas and information about available community services for parents through social media, children’s events, newsletters, and even the airwaves.

The Plan

Three child development coalitions in close proximity to each other– Early Steps to Success (Lamont County), Two Hills Coalition and Vegreville and District Child Development Coalition have partnered together to have a consistent radio spot on the local radio station 106.5 Country FM.  With the goal of  providing practical tips for parents and emphasizing the importance of early development, all three coordinators have created a schedule of development messages based on the five domains (physical health and well-being, emotional maturity, communication skills and general knowledge, social competence and language, thinking skills) identified by Early Childhood Coalitions of Alberta.

Pre-recorded clips featuring children, parents and coordinators will be featured three times per week to the radio audience covering a broadcast area of approximately 17,000 square km.

Listen here to recording.

The Outcomes

This initiative has been a true collaboration of all three coalitions as the voices of different perspectives help raise awareness about the importance of early development, activity ideas, and services within the communities to enhance children's development. A project of this magnitude requires not only commitment of finances, organization, and planning of messages, but parental participation as well. Each coordinator worked hard to find children who were able and willing to speak and consenting parents to deliver a message which they also believe has value.

Following the first airing of Toddler Truths, there have been many positive comments via Social Media.  Parents and family members are sharing the weekly Toddler Truths capturing a much larger audience than we ever expected. The manager at the local radio station loved the initiative so much that he added extra air time for no added cost. The next steps are to continue the messaging via radio and find other means of collaborating with events or initiatives to help provide resources to the upcoming generation of parents.

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