a child is born into these circumstances, it often results in
many social and emotional problems, as well as physical problems
related to stress. Children have difficulty regulating their state of wakefulness,
sleep, attention, and mood. They are
very sensitive, yet are not easily consoled.
They have difficulty making connections between their
feelings and needs. The stress they experience releases cortisol, which interferes
with the brain’s neural growth and development.
These children often demonstrate smaller head circumferences
and physical growth, appear tired, and frequently experience
illness and digestive problems.
At age three,
we see many speech, language and motor delays – over 70% in
our preschool population. We find that
the children’s play, speech and movements are often underdeveloped.
We also find that their development of visual and auditory
attention and memory are greatly affected.
These lags have serious implications for a child beginning
school who needs to attend to a teacher in a classroom.
with these health and developmental problems further limits
the child’s ability to handle daily life.
To help mitigate
such early life challenges, EvenStart provides a centre-based
program with specialized supports.
safe place to be; a place that is predictable, establishes boundaries,
and where the most important work we do is form the relationship
with each child, because it is through the relationship that
a child feels safe enough to learn a new way “to be”.
least 1 staff member to every 4 children.
Speech therapy, occupational therapy, and play therapy, to assist
children with closing their developmental lags and healing their
Transportation to and from our program, because 70% of our families
are headed by single parent women who have little in the way
An abundance of food because these children are always hungry.
and training to parents in their homes to assist in carrying
over the child’s learning.
And we do this with respect for the child’s family!
provided these services for over 15 years to the children in
the City of Calgary.
We have done
this in an aging building that we can no longer “hold together”.
We now ask
Corporate Calgary to help us build this optimal child intervention
centre, and, in turn assure our continued success in improving
early childhood development.
Thank you for
Ilona Boyce, MSW
Executive Director (Volunteer)
EvenStart for Children Foundation