An Overview of Young Children Priority First (YCPF)
Young Children Priority First builds on the success of the larger Young Children Priority One initiative of Kiwanis International and has hosted a series of ventures aimed at enhancing children’s development before they start school.
Young Children Priority First is an Advisory Board that is comprised of one member from each of the Kiwanis Clubs in the Niagara Region and 2 to 3 members appointed by the ECCDC. The ECCDC provides the resources, training and support to the Early Learning and Child Care community while the volunteer, fundraising and business resources are provided by the Kiwanis Clubs of Niagara.The vision is that all children aged 0-6 years in Niagara will have access to the best early learning and care possible. The mission is to enhance early learning and care for children 0-6 years of age, building a network of volunteers and developing a fundraising vehicle for projects, resources and practitioner training.
Young Children Priority First’s philosophy: YCPF has adopted a holistic view of the child and is, therefore, concerned with enhancing all aspects of the development of young children aged 0-6 in the Niagara Region which includes the physical, social, spiritual and emotional aspects of their well being.
Motto is “Young Children Priority First”
Focus: Young Children Priority First needs flexibility in order to adapt to and meet the ever changing and diverse needs of the children in the Region. Efforts will focus on increasing the capacity of Niagara’s early learning and care programs to deliver services that enrich children’s development and learning. This might mean activities will be undertaken that support improvements with the following: education of children themselves and their educators; environment, structure and resources of child care programs; and physical, developmental and cognitive functioning of children.
Written by Will Foran
Niagara Science & Technology Project
The Early Childhood Community Development Centre (ECCDC) was thrilled to work in partnership with the Kiwanis Clubs of Niagara in offering science and technology based resources and training to Niagara’s licensed child care programs.
Each licensed child care program in Niagara received a free play-based Science and Technology kit developed in alignment with Ontario’s Early Learning Framework: Early Learning for Every Child Today and valued at over $800. Additionally, all Early Childhood Educators working in these programs were eligible to attend a free, three-hour training session to gain strategies for incorporating the science kits into their daily program planning and supporting children in learning science and technology concepts. These sessions were offered between February 2014 and May 2015.
In May 2015, Follow-up Training Sessions, Linking your Science & Technology Kit to Ontario’s Early Learning Framework, were offered to project participants to offer the opportunity to network and share further thoughts regarding the implementation of the Science Project materials and resources.
Science & Technology Project News & Wrap-up Celebration
Kiwanis Clubs of Niagara and the ECCDC Join Forces to Enhance Science & Technology Experiences for Young Children
Article, Andrea Hannen and Lorrey Arial Bonilla
St. Catharines Standard: “Science is in the bag for Niagara youngsters”
Media Release: KIWANIS PROJECT WILL ENHANCE SCIENCE EDUCATION IN CHILD CARE CENTRES
Thanks to a two-year, $150,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario, the Kiwanis Clubs of Niagara and the Early Childhood Community Development Centre (ECCDC) will provide science and technology learning kits to approximately 175 licensed child care programs in Niagara over the next two years. The two organizations have undertaken similar projects together; most recently a project which provided Niagara�s licensed child care programs with numeracy based educational materials. In addition to receiving the play based learning kit, the project will include a training component for the Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs) who will use the new science resources in their child care programs.
Click here for full document.
Early Literacy Project for Licensed Child Care Centres (2007)
This initial project was the first of a series that partnered the Kiwanis Clubs of Niagara with the ECCDC and child care providers in Niagara with the aim of enhancing children’s development before they start school.
For this Literacy Project, Kiwanis Clubs of Niagara adopted 140 Licensed Child Care Centres across the Region and provided them with over 5000 new books and learning materials designed to foster children’s literacy. They also volunteered countless hours making minor repairs to toys and equipment and reading and interacting with over 6000 children enrolled within these child care centres.
Kiwanis joined forces with the ECCDC to help secure funds from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and power the administrative aspect of the project. Kiwanis volunteers worked closely with Literacy Link Niagara and Speech Services Niagara to help select appropriate books for purchase.
For more information, click here for full Media Release: Kiwanis Clubs of Niagara Launch New Project to Get Kids Hooked on Reading; February 6 2006.
Numeracy Project for Licensed Child Care Centres (2008)
Through funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, all Licensed Child Care Centres in Niagara were provided a Numeracy Resource Kit containing over $1000 worth of educational resource materials, purchased primarily through educational resource supplier Louise, Kool & Galt.
Click here to view the Project Summary which includes project details such as funding, volunteerism, and kit cost, assembly and value. Approximately 6000 children enrolled in Niagara’s Licensed Child Care programs now have access to the numeracy resource kits with encouragement and guidance in discovering various math concepts including:
- number sense and numeration
- measurement and measurement sense
- geometry and spatial sense
- patterning and data management and probability
Science & Technology Project Training Sessions
Below are photos and feedback from participants at the Science Project Training Sessions.
November 5, 2014
“Very informative – Can’t wait to use with my class.”
“Fantastic resources and very well rounded assortment of materials to explore all aspects of science.”
“Very well thought out, everything and more is in the kit! ex. camera, thundermaker..”
“Equipment is great! Prompts thinking in daily planning.”
October 6, 2014
“I found the group activities and listening to other points of view on topics the most informative.”
“The most meaningful and informative part was the prompts and open-ended questions – we don’t have to know the answers.”
“Looking forward to having fun with the children.”
September 30, 2014
“The hands-on questions, material handling and exploring the kit was most meaningful.”
“…being able to look at science in a different way and questioning.”
“Very informative training, lots of examples, kit is amazing with lots of very useful materials in it.”
“I enjoyed this seminar and many ideas with this science kit. Jennifer (facilitator) was amazing and interesting.”
June 9, 2014
“I loved seeing the different science activities we can add to the classroom.”
“…Jen gave a great presentation, interesting and very meaningful and easy to implement.”
“…realizing that everything can be science everyday can be different.”
“We were fighting over whose room will use the items first.”
“The material will be so useful, interesting and fun for the children to use in the classroom.”
May 13, 2014
“The time for staff to use the materials and to explore asking/using open-ended questions.”
“The new information that was presented to us was very informative and meaningful.”
“Science was always a weakness so this definitely gives me more confidence and ideas to take back to the centre.”
“Our children at our centre are very inquisitive and we always like to experiment with ideas.”
“So excited to use it with the kids. Can’t wait to see the smile on their faces.”
“It’s so wonderful to have this kit.’
“Thank you very much! We look forward to using the materials! Thank you.”
“This workshop is a great resource!”
“Very good, gets you thinking of different ways to promote learning.”
April 29, 2014
“Different people brought different ideas and everyone was able to expand on them.”
“There were appropriately timed and thoughtfully designed group discussions throughout the session.”
“Much of my lack of confidence came from a lack of original materials and ideas. The kit was very helpful.”
“There were many group activities that were fun-filled and useful.”
“This will bring amazing things to the learning process.”
“It adds variety and allows the children to expand their knowledge and learn new things.”
April 28, 2014
“The session was perfect and easy to understand.”
“It was a good reminder that science is everywhere and doesn’t have to be hard.”
“Knowing there is a huge resource at my centre really gives me confidence because I feel it can make science fun.”
From an Executive Director, “I wanted to send kudos for the fantastic science kit that everyone received at the workshop the other evening. It was absolutely incredible! My staff said the workshop was a lot of fun and they are ‘tickled pink’ with the trunk of goodies!”
April 12, 2014
“During the training, we were already coming up with ideas for Monday.”
“Refreshed our memories on how simple things work.”
“It allows us to think outside the box and challenge us to be better facilitators.”
“Science and technology is a fun way of incorporating the real life into a child’s centre. It teaches them so much.”
“Always need new ideas to make things interesting. sometimes we fall into a rut and need fresh ideas.”
“Our centre is small and we don’t have the funding for these kits, thank you.”
“Knowing what the materials are and how to use them is helpful. Also knowing what we can use for a later time gives us something to look forward to.”
“Strongly recommend this workshop to broaden the minds as an ECE.”
March 4, 2014
“The training provided assurance and confidence that we can incorporate a variety of science experiments into our programs easily.”
“The training offered great ideas for experiments and made me realize it could be just everyday things that are used to incorporate science. Think outside the box!”
“As a group, we had many different ideas and explanations; it was good to share with colleagues and other staff.”
“Being provided with the kit and resources, I believe staff will feel more confident in incorporating science into everyday learning.”
“Having the resources allows creativity in both me as an educator and the child as the learner.”
March 3, 2014
“The hands-on training provided different uses for each item and the knowledge to incorporate it into the children’s everyday experience.”
“I love science! I teach and enjoy incorporating it into the program; however, this kit will broaden and supplement what we’re already doing!”
“With the tools provided, it opens up opportunities for even teachers to explore.”
“I am very excited to introduce these different tools and having the tools available makes it easier to come up with new and exciting opportunities for the children.”
“I was impressed with how easy it can be to incorporate science into everyday learning for the children in my centre.”
February 19, 2014
“Thank you so much to the project partners! We are super appreciative and lucky to have your support to increase the quality of our centres.”
“The materials and resources provided help give a clear picture of how we can easily incorporate science and technology into the class.”
“The training helped me realize easy ways to incorporate science into all centres.”
February 10, 2014
“Science can be very intimidating when you don’t have confidence; this kit shows how basic items can enhance all activities.”
“More materials/resources means more child-initiated activities.”
“I am so happy this training was offered! Science is such a big part of every day and I am very eager to expand on it with these wonderful kits!”
“This training and the resources have made me excited to teach science!”