PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATION STATEMENT
Research confirms that experiences during the early years, zero to eight years, are critical for the child's physical, social, emotional, language and cognitive development, and set the foundation for his or her entire life. They influence later school success, economic opportunities, social and civic life, health and well-being.
The District recognizes that the critical early years span a period from infancy through pre-school, kindergarten and primary grades. Edmonton Public Schools can enhance children's literacy and numeracy development by working with parent and community partners prior and subsequent to public school age eligibility.
The Board recognizes the importance of family as the child's first teacher. It also recognizes that the community as the wider social environment plays a significant role in enriching the experiences of children and families through the activities and services it offers.
The Board believes that:
- The early years are critically important in providing a foundation for learning.
- Child- and family-centered early learning opportunities that promote creativity contribute to school readiness and long-term educational success.
- Exemplary preschools with play-based programming provide socio-emotional, communication and physical development as well as early literacy and numeracy opportunities. They respond to children's individual needs and contributes to academic attainment.
- Strong partnerships between schools and preschools, other early learning programs (e.g., Head Start) and child cares support successful transition to formal schooling and parent engagement. Co-location of these programs in district schools is effective, convenient, and enhances school-community interaction.
- Continued collaboration among schools, families and community is built through outreach, sharing of resources and joint participation.
- Research and assessment data, used to identify strengths and needs and to promote innovative practice in the early years, is essential for effective early years programming. Differing approaches must be tracked to identify and encourage the most successful practices.
- The Board should access educational funding such as early language learning and Program Unit Funding (PUF) to provide early years programming that complements community programming and supports the transition to, and in, the early years of public schooling.