Early Childhood Development Framework will give NWT children the right start

June 6, 2013
News Releases

YELLOWKNIFE (June 6, 2013) –  A renewed Early Childhood Development Framework from the Departments of Education, Culture and Employment and Health and Social Services will give NWT children the right start by focusing on the important early years from prenatal to age five.  The departments collaborated on renewing the original 2001 Framework, incorporating new research, emerging information, best practices and techniques that reflect the most effective approaches to early childhood development.

“The renewed Framework will ensure we are meeting the needs of our children and families,” said Minister of Education, Culture and Employment Jackson Lafferty. “The prenatal period and first five years of life are critical for a child’s development and will affect the quality and success of their entire lives.  We are committed to creating a foundation of access, dedicated programs and services and collaboration across government and with Northern stakeholders in early childhood development.”

Early childhood development is often defined as the stages of mental, physical and social development that happen during a child’s first five years of life.  The child’s brain grows most rapidly during this period, and connections and neural pathways are set that frame their decision making and perceptions as they grow.  Accessible, consistent programs and services will ensure children and families have the opportunity to become successful, productive Northerners with fulfilled lives.

“This framework will guide our actions over the next decade and is an investment in our people, economy and environment. A framework like this creates benefits that far exceed program costs - every dollar invested in early childhood development can yield up to a sevenfold return," said Minister of Health and Social Services Tom Beaulieu.

There are many factors that can influence a child’s life, like poverty, inadequate housing, mental health and addictions and safety and security. The Government of the Northwest Territories is working on numerous initiatives that recognize these linkages.  This will ensure a coordinated and informed approach to providing programs and services that best meet the needs of Northerners.

Over the summer the Departments will finalize an action plan to support the commitments in the Framework.  The action plan will outline priorities for action over the next three years and will be supported by a monitoring and evaluation framework.

To read the report and for more information, visit www.ece.gov.nt.ca or www.hss.gov.nt.ca or www.rightfromthestart.ca

For more information:

Jacqueline McKinnon
Manager, Public Affairs
Department of Education, Culture and Employment
Tel:  (867) 920-6222
Email:  jacqueline_mckinnon@gov.nt.ca

Damien Healy
Manager, Communications
Department of Health and Social Services
Tel:  (867) 920-8927
Email:  damien_healy@gov.nt.ca