ECMap was an Alberta Government funded 5-year project that worked to raise community awareness of the results of an intensive study on the readiness of Alberta’s children for kindergarten. The Government invested 26 million dollars to gather Early Development Instrument (EDI) data, interpret it, and share the results with communities province-wide.

We learned that Alberta’s kindergarten children are behind the Canadian average in their performance, with children in Lethbridge behind the Provincial average. Why is it so when we know that the preschool years are the most important time for brain development? We also know that skills that support a child’s success in school and in life are trainable and can be developed through simple play activities that stimulate thinking, problem solving and self-regulation. Our speakers will share some of the work currently underway that aims to address these issues.

Speakers: Robbin Gibb and LaVonne Rideout

Robbin Gibb is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Lethbridge. Her research funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada investigates parental influences on brain development and recovery from early brain injury. She is currently studying the effectiveness of improving adult capability in parent/caregivers of preschoolers by increasing their knowledge about executive function and early literacy. Robbin is a proud mother of two and grandmother of seven.

LaVonne Rideout grew up as the fifth of six children on a mixed farm near Pincher Creek. Helping the next generation get a good start has been a motivating goal during her 30 years in early learning and child care. As part of the provincial government’s drive to increase child-care spaces, she was given a mandate to create 500 new child-care spaces in her region over three years. She and her team created more than 2000 new spaces in two years by engaging communities from the start. For the past five years, LaVonne has worked passionately doing community development for the Early Child Development Mapping project. She has five sons and can now add Grandma as a favorite title.

Moderator: Bev Muendel-Atherstone Date: Thursday, February 19, 2015 Time: Noon - 1:30 PM (30 minutes each for presentation, lunch and Q & A) Location: Country Kitchen Catering (Lower level of The Keg) 1715 Mayor Magrath Dr. S Cost: $11.00 (includes lunch) or $2.00 (includes coffee/tea at the presentation only)

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