What we do
At the Foundation, we follow one main philosophy — to help children get ready for life through public education. But what does that really mean?
Before they even start Kindergarten, children begin learning. Research tells us that 75 per cent of brain growth occurs before age six. When children live in vulnerable circumstances without opportunities for healthy growth, their future success becomes threatened. So what can be done?
That’s where we come in.
At Edmonton Public Schools, the unwavering belief that all children should leave the public education system with the competencies needed to prepare them for a lifetime of success guides our work.
The Foundation was launched February 10, 2010, for two main purposes: to spread the word about the great things happening in the public education system and to support Edmonton Public Schools across Edmonton. We do this by offering opportunities for improved learning through financial, in-kind and human resource contributions.
So what we really do here is raise friends and funds to support early learning intervention and student success. Research shows children develop the foundation for strong communication skills, literacy, social competence, numeracy, adaptability and physical health as early as age three.
We know investing in children today means investing in their future, our communities and our society.
As a two-person operation, we currently support two main programs: Early Learning and Full-Day Kindergarten. We provide support to schools with students considered Edmonton's most socially vulnerable citizens.
Programs we support
We conduct ongoing research to ensure we offer children the best possible learning opportunities and to show you the benefits of our programs. Right now, we are focused on helping young children build strong foundations for their future.
Research tells us early learning programs focused on curriculum outcomes help children develop both communication and social skills. Not only do these skills help them transition into Kindergarten, but they also increase their chances of having a positive K-12 experience.
Research tells us full-day Kindergarten ensures children receive the instructional and developmental time they need to build the learning-to-learn skills required for success in future grades. Although the Provincial Government funds half-day Kindergarten, Edmonton Public Schools provides additional funding to offer full-day Kindergarten at 20+ of its highest needs schools.
It costs approximately $100,000 to subsidize the other half-day of Kindergarten programming per classroom, per school - each school year. Since our launch in 2010 and through the generosity of Edmonton Public Schools' staff members and the community, we have raised enough funds to support and sustain six full-day Kindergarten programs at the following schools:
- Tipaskan as of the 2010-11 school year;
- Lauderdale and Mee-Yah-Noh as of the 2011-12 school year; and
- Beacon Heights, Calder and Princeton as of the 2013-14 school year.
We know the core structure of a child's brain is developed between birth and the age of five, and the experiences that occur in one's early years affect the physical architecture of the brain. To learn more, watch the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative (AFWI) video entitled How Brains are Built, which presents the story of brain development and its impact on mental health and addiction.
We base our goals and programs on more than good intentions — we base them on facts. Edmonton Public Schools, Alberta Education and other educational institutions conduct ongoing research to ensure our programs help children succeed. Here’s what we found.
We discovered children who use these programs:
- develop literacy, math and learning skills more quickly;
- learn at a level that’s appropriate for them;
- advance socially and show positive behaviours, such as originality, independence, involvement and interaction with teachers and peers; and
- experience fewer transitions, especially those cared for by three or more caregivers during the day.
And while those benefits help children — which is what we’re all about — research also shows these benefits save money in the future. Successful student performance typically leads to:
- less money spent on school resources, such as grade repetition and special education classes;
- higher education which leads to financial success in adulthood;
- higher lifetime incomes; and
- reduced levels of delinquency and crime, benefiting community members and society.
Want to learn more? You can read about all the positive program outcomes in our Edmonton Public Schools May 27, 2008 Board Report, Longitudinal Effects of Full-day Kindergarten Through to Grade 6. Dr. Jose da Costa from the University of Alberta worked with Edmonton Public Schools to conduct the research.
Our Board of Governors
The Board of Governors supports the Board of Trustees’ efforts by increasing support for Edmonton Public Schools within the community, particularly the 80 per cent of Edmontonians who currently do not have a direct link to the public education system.
Anar Jassani, community member
Chelsey Swankhuizen, community member
Cheryl Johner (Trustee), Edmonton Public School Board Trustee
Cory MacTaggart, Edmonton Public School Board staff member
Don Lore, community member
Louise Hayes (Dr.), community member
Eric Haug, Community Member
Jennifer Zabloski, Community Member
Judy McCorquodale, Edmonton Public School Board former staff member
Julie Ketel, Edmonton Public School Board staff member
Ray C. Purdy, QC, Community Member
Ryan Wagner, Community Member