Have you ever wondered why some children thrive, while others falter? So have others, even some smart people trained to collect scientific data. They provide that data to anyone who wants to analyze it, and they have the resources to add to that data over an extended period of time. In this case, for more than 50 years,
The National Child Development Study follows the lives of 17,000 people born in Britain in a single week of 1958. The original study measured the social and obstetric factors associated with stillbirth and death in early infancy. Researchers went back to the same cohort when it turned seven and measured physical height, social abilities, and mental skills – readiness for school. They continued returning to the same group.
When the same cohort was adults in their 30s, researchers measured and sorted for quality of health, economic success and social engagement. The data was provided to other researchers who studied which social factors in childhood could predict success in adulthood. What those studies found was that children who experienced quality preschool child care do better as adults. They entered school healthier, better adapted socially, and mentally were ready to learn. They started school with an advantage and they kept it into adulthood.
This wealth of data is used by educators, economists, and policy makers worldwide. In Canada, Dr. Fraser Mustard, University of Toronto and the Institute for Human Development, and Dr. Clyde Hertzman, University of B.C. and the Human Early Learning Partnership, influenced the development of the North Okanagan Child Care Society, which began operating a quality child care facility at Beairsto Elementary in 1994. This not-for-profit, parent-led society grew and adapted over the past 20 years, and in December 2013, it purchased West Vernon Elementary School.
On June 25, parents, children, early childhood educators, staff and board members gathered to celebrate and to change its name to Maven Lane. What a tremendous achievement, a permanent location for a quality child care and early learning centre in Vernon. Congratulations to all who over the past 20 years worked to make it happen.
Nick Hodge, president, Okanagan-Shuswap NDP