Who We Are
The North Okanagan Early Years Council is comprised of a variety of both non-government and government agencies who deliver services to children 0-6 years of age and their families as well as other interested community members.
We envision our community involved in supporting all parents, caregivers and children from pre-conception to age six to enhance their potential.
To build community partnerships dedicated to healthy child development through ongoing research, strong communication & coordinated delivery of a continuum of preventive & support services.
To identify strengths and gaps in services and to prioritize and achieve effective, sustainable services for young children and their families
How Our Values Lead our Actions:
We are Inclusive; we value every child as a unique human being who has potential.
We are Supportive; we value the benefit of support for all children, parents and caregivers.
We are Collaborative; we value open and innovative collaboration between agencies and programs, ECD strategies are strength-based and solution-focused.
We are Community-Driven; we value community involvement in Early Childhood Development and we strive to enhance public awareness of the importance of ECD.
We advocate for policy changes to increase our community capacity for young families. We help provide required funding to qualifying non-profit organizations with programs and plans that support families with children ages 0 to 6.
Our History (basic version…)
In November 2002, an Early Childhood Development Committee in the North Okanagan was formed to guide the future direction of the Ministry of Children and Family Development ECD activities.
In 2007 the name of this group evolved from the ECD Committee to the North Okanagan Early Childhood Development Coalition, it has since changed to the North Okanagan Early Years Council
History (detailed version…)
In April, 2002, Eugene Krupa from CATCH, Kelowna, (Community Action Towards Children’s Health) presented their community’s vision for working together for the healthy development of children aged 0-6. In June of that year, Dr. Clyde Hertzman from the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) at UBC was sponsored by the Kalamalka Rotary to present the work done by HELP and the EDI (Early Development Index), a population based instrument to assess kindergarten readiness. Shortly after these events, an Early Childhood Development Steering Committee was formed, comprised of a membership that included all sectors of the community involved in service delivery for children (0-6) and their families.
The ECD Committee in conjunction with the Ministry for Children and Family Development (MCFD) and the Interior Health Authority (IHA) did Community Mapping and assessed the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to children and families in the community.
The following goals were set;
- accessible services through a central intake and referral program,
- establishment of accessible sustainable parent education as a community norm
- development of inter-sectoral community partnerships and alternative sources of funding
- provision of opportunities for all children to be school ready through early assessment/identification,
- access to preschool/daycare and elimination of wait-lists for preventative services
In early 2003, the ECD Committee received authorization for funding to develop an ECD strategic plan and develop criteria and fair process for awarding MCFD’s Building Blocks program.
A consulting team comprised of Eric Kowalski, Connie Deane, Paul Cabaj and Barbara Levesque was hired to lead the committee through the process which included (1) development of a framework for a community-based model for allocating Building Block funding, (2) Parent Forums in all three communities (Vernon, Lumby, Armstrong), (3) an ECD session on values, and (4) a strategic planning session with the ECD committee.
The strategic plan document was ratified in July 2003. The Coalition has continued to meet monthly since that time and has maintained broad inter-sectoral participation.
The Coalition is one of four sub-committees of the North Okanagan Child, Youth and Family Committee which meets quarterly to oversee the broader mandate of MCFD.
A representative from the ECD Coalition reports regularly to the North Okanagan Child and Youth Committeee.