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Fort McMurray is a community full of people, organizations and businesses making a difference…and Educare Early Intervention is doing its part.

Educare is a Fort McMurray-based preschool program for children ages three to five-years old and their families. With an emphasis on providing a language enriched environment where children can improve and increase their language, social, and problem-solving skills, self-esteem, self-confidence, and, above all else, have fun while doing so, these leaders in early education are making a difference in the future of Fort McMurray.

As a non-profit charitable organization, Educare was founded by Kim Farrell in 1996, when Kim noticed the shortfalls that many children had in their social and academic readiness for elementary school.

After researching and presenting to what was then the AWASAK Child and Families Services Authority (now known as Northeast Alberta Child & Family Services Authority, Region 9), Kim’s proposal, together with her commitment to children and their families, saw the start of Educare Early Intervention.

What sets Educare apart from other preschools? The focus on early literacy intervention and language is the main component. “At the age of three-and-a-half, my daughter could not be understood by anybody other than close family,” shares a former Educare parent. “My daughter was writing her name at home by October because of her interest in learning and writing, and everyone can understand her spoken word now.”

With programs focused on the families as well, such as the Family Literacy and Family Resource programs, it’s not just the students who are benefitting. “What is truly special about the Educare Preschool is their focus on families and their desire to bring them closer together,” says another happy parent. “Outside the classroom, both my husband and I have taken advantage of the informative evening sessions that are available thanks to the Family Resource Program (ELFF – Educare Literacy for Families, sponsored by the Suncor Energy Foundation),” she continues. “These seminars offer new insights as well as providing an arena for the parents to get together and get to know each other.”

Thanks to a small staff-to-child ratio (four teachers to 18 children), and themes that change every month (children can participate in Educare for two years for optimal kindergarten readiness; for this reason, a theme is not repeated for two years), the children who graduate from Educare show the benefits of this well-rounded program that incorporates the interests of the kids into their daily program. An elementary teacher shared, “The children from Educare have been more than ready to meet the challenges that take place in the Kindergarten classroom.” After all, a child’s language development is one of the most significant predictors of school success.

It’s said that children are our future. Educare Early Intervention is building a solid foundation for that future…one student at a time.

Did you know? -All children at Educare receive speech-language services from the Speech-Language Pathologist. This is one factor that makes Educare unique within our municipality.

-Tests confirm significant changes in the children’s language skills between the beginning and the end of the school year.

-In a six-month period, Educare’s kids’ average Receptive Vocabulary Growth was 17.5 months…versus an expected six months!

-Educare follows the Early Years Evaluation (EYE) test results of their students after they have moved on to kindergarten.

-Compared to the 9% of students who experienced significant difficulty upon entering kindergarten, 0% of Educare children did.

Don't miss the Shamrock Shindig presented by Syncrude

Happening on March 15 at the Quality Hotel and Conference Centre, this sixth annual fundraiser, benefiting Educare Early Intervention, is gearing up to beat last year’s $80,000 total! For more information, call 780.743.3464