|Timestamp||Email Address||Candidate Name||If elected, how will you champion the Early Years in your governance work on Council?||How will you support Council’s current initiatives focused on young children and their families?||Do you have any new or different initiatives to propose that will improve the early childhood development results for young children? If so, what are they?|
|8/21/2017 15:51:email@example.com||Brandy Burdeniuk||Thank you for all of your hard work. The programming your team provides is essential and impressive. I come from a large family full of kids and is ever growing, one side Ukrainian, the other Newfoundlander. My parents were quite young when they had me, and we greatly utilized affordable municipal programs at the library, swimming pools, public parks and recreation centres. As a parent I also know first hand the importance of municipal services and long term commitments for sustainable program funding and support. When elected I will work with your team, learn from your lived experience, listen to the needs of our communities and champion support for municipal early childhood development.||I have followed closely the Child Friendly Edmonton Initiative and will support the Child Friendly Vision, Values and Goals outlined to create inclusive safe community spaces, where children and families feel welcome, respected and have opportunities to build relationships through play. I'm greatly concerned with the rise of urban isolation, and believe it is our role on Council to ensure the decisions we make connect people not further isolate. I know first hand, being a young parent, how isolating it was at first for our unconventional blended family to find affordable child friendly spaces, restaurants and events. I am thankful for the Child Friendly Edmonton Initiative, as I know the need all too well, and that need is ever growing.||There is a diversity of families across our city. I would like to support a small shift city wide, that we implemented with great success at our Hazeldean community league. We changed our "Mommy & Me" weekly meet up to one that is more welcoming, like “Toddler and Me”. I know it seems odd but with a simple shift we could make events inclusive to moms, dads, grandparents and other caregivers as well. As Gloria Steinem famously noted "Women are not going to be equal outside the home until men are equal in it."|
I would also like us to review childcare facilities to see how they can become barrier free. Many buildings where childcare is provided are not easily accessible if you have limited mobility. I think we need to be more inclusive and ensure that all children and caregivers including parents and grandparents can easily physically access all child care centres, not just for pick up and drop off, but also for volunteering and attending events.
|8/31/2017 14:08:firstname.lastname@example.org||Troy Pavlek||Building a city that supports and enables children in early years and their families goes hand in hand with the construction and implementation of an inclusive and welcoming city. First and foremost: safe active transportation needs to be enabled across the city and Vision Zero made a priority.|
Going to elementary school, I lived in Sherwood Park in government subsidized housing with my single mother, who worked often. I could not rely on vehicle rides to events and activities. As much as Sherwood Park might be thought of as car-centric, they have an expansive set of separated bike paths through most neighbourhoods, and those paths enabled me to find independence, friendship and an active lifestyle, all of which were critical in making me who I am today.
Our cities and lifestyles have changed since I was developing, and our city has sprawled significantly. When governing and drafting policy we need to be active in considering and asking the question: How can a low-income and/or car-free household use the city and its services? If the answer is: "With inconvenience compared to a well-off, multi-car household" then that signals there's still work left to do.
|Growing up in a low-income household, I have the lived experience to empathize with many of the struggles that low-income families - and specifically the children in those households - can face. I remember bringing calculators to the grocery store -- don't forget to add the GST! -- and calculating exactly what we could get to stay on budget that week. I remember choosing to play at the soccer field behind the rec centre because admission was too expensive.|
These are the memories and experiences that we need to keep in mind when working on policies that affect our city. Similar to the city's existing work with GBA+ (gender based analysis plus), we need to apply a low-income and working-poor lens to city decisions and services in order to make sure the city is accessible to everyone.
|Social isolation is not just a problem for adults. The world has changed a lot in the past decades - you don't need to be in the same room as your friends to play video games anymore. This, coupled with the rise of social media, has led to a scenario where kids don't need to be face-to-face to socialize anymore. And when you're not face-to-face, it can get lonely. And it can make the face-to-face times all the harder.|
In Hazeldean, we've tried to remedy some of this - our playground has a buddy bench that says to kids: whoever you are, whatever you like, you can come to this bench and find someone to play with.
The city needs to take a more active role in opening up our communities and fostering positive social interactions for all ages, demographics and backgrounds!
|9/19/2017 22:03:email@example.com||Chris Christianson||Convey a voice for the people of Ward 11 to city of Edmonton Leadership.||If the programs are working and supplying enough of what is required, then keep the program going and monitor it to makes sure it will always meet the needs of the people and Children.||I am in favor of Breakfast and lunch programs for children in our schools. We need to look at what is working and what is not working and make changes as needed to existing programs and fund new programs as required. Take time to talk to the front line staff and get their ideas and suggestions and implement them as the budget allows, set up emergency programs when their are situations requiring fast action to keep situations from worsening.|
|9/26/2017 1:42:firstname.lastname@example.org||Rob Aromin||Champion Early Years with great importance. As today's children will be tomorrow's leaders and community builders. How great we bring up today's youth will determine how great we live out our older years.||As a former Child Care I am totally for initiatives that "foster the right of young people as contributing members of society who have a sense of ownership and a voice in their community". I would love to see great things we do for our children and look at more ways to do more.||I hear so much about about arts, culture and athletics. That I would like to add life skills like gardening, basic cooking, bicycle safety, basic sewing, nutrition, pet care, health and fitness.|
|8/23/2017||Keren Tang||Having a baby changed my worldview completely and gave me a whole new appreciation for the importance of early childhood development. If elected, I intend to be a champion for young families, bringing a child-centred approach to policy development. |
My own experience with the Early Years began when I participated as a new mom in the Welcome to Parenthood (also known as the Baby Box) research project, which looked at how mentorship and social support positively impact maternal and infant health. I have since accessed numerous services for early childhood development including Family Futures, Alberta Health Services, and the Edmonton Public Libraries. These supports helped me to form a network of young families in my neighbourhood so we can look out for each other and for our little ones to overcome the challenges of postpartum blues and postnatal development.
Earlier this year, I was barred from participating in a public forum because I had my baby with me. I wrote an opinion piece in the Edmonton Journal about my experience of exclusion and isolation, titled “Children Must be a Part of the Conversation.” In this article, I stressed the importance of placing children at the centre of our governance decisions. Policies that are child-friendly will benefit everyone.
This vision aligns with my training and professional background as a public health professional who prioritizes prevention and health promotion. Early childhood development is one of the many factors, outside of the healthcare system, that determine our health and wellbeing. Applying a public health lens will ensure that policy-makers take a comprehensive approach and consider the impact of policy decisions on early childhood development.
|I would prioritize implementing the Child-Friendly Edmonton strategy so that it is not simply an aspiration, but has concrete, practical outcomes. Implementation of such a comprehensive strategy requires an intersectoral approach, where different sectors—businesses, non-profits, healthcare, social services, and the education system—are working together for a common goal. |
Childcare continues to be a major issue for families in Edmonton. I will support City Council efforts to work with the provincial government to increase affordable, quality childcare so that children can learn and develop in healthy, safe environments.
I would establish indicators related to children’s experiences to track the progress of strategies such as Housing First, End Poverty Edmonton, and the newest Urban Wellness Plan (Executive Committee July 4th meeting agenda item 6.9). Potential indicators of success would be a decrease in the number of children living in poverty and an increase in the number of families and children housed.
|Early childhood development is intimately tied to many other factors that affect our well-being and quality of life—factors such as housing, education, safety, infrastructure, social support, gender equality, and food security. We need to apply a more comprehensive lens to policies and decision-making to ensure that we consider all facets of an issue. This health lens approach will allow us to better understand, plan, and budget for child-friendly approaches with a longer-term outlook. We need to recognize particular challenges that face children and families from diverse communities, including Indigenous, newcomer immigrants, refugees, and LGBTQ. For example, the organization ASSIST offers programs in Cantonese and Mandarin to help new parents overcome language barriers. Directing resources and developing policies to support initiatives with these specific communities will further address issues of racism and discrimination.|