Saskatoon Health Region released a report today showing that progress is being made to improve school readiness in kindergarten students. Overall, 83 per cent of Kindergarten children in 2015/16 were “ready to learn” as compared to 81 per cent the year previous. The provincial goal is 90 per cent of children will be “ready to learn” in the primary grades by 2020.
“School readiness is a good predictor of health for the rest of a child’s life as it is a predictor of future educational achievement and income,” says Dr. Cory Neudorf, Chief Medical Health Officer for Saskatoon Health Region. “Children who are well cared for in their earliest years are more likely to grow up healthy and learn the thinking, language, emotional and social skills needed to succeed. Successful children often grow up to be successful adults. Early child development is a recognized determinant of individual and population health and can help us shape the programs and services we need to create healthy communities.”
The statistics are part of the Region’s latest health status report called “Maternal and Child Health”. While there are overall improvements, the state of “school readiness” for children does vary across the Region, including Saskatoon itself, with some areas of the city having 90.3 per cent of Kindergarten children “ready to learn” and others areas at 69 per cent.
Work is underway with over 30 active community and system partners coming together “to ensure that 90 per cent of students are ready for learning in the primary grades by 2020” through the Saskatoon Early Years Partnership (SEYP). Formed in 2013, SEYP’s aim is to build a comprehensive understanding of the current landscape of Early Years programs and services, across the human services sector, including community-based organizations, in Saskatoon.
“Through a collective approach, our team has created a mapping process to capture the sector touch points for families with children prenatal to age eight,” explains SEYP’s co-chair Gabrielle Lepage-Lavoie. “Sector touch points are where systems/agencies reach out to families to provide service, care or supports. Using the data from this map, we are working together, with families, to understand and make improvements to the collaborative, intersectoral relationships. We believe this work will help create a direct impact on children’s early years development, and ultimately on the social determinants of health.”
Today’s health status release also includes key maternal health indicators such as prenatal care, postpartum depression, and vulnerability at the time of birth. Aside from readiness to learn in the primary grades, key child health indicators such as infant mortality, breastfeeding rates, and oral health indicators are also presented.
Read the full report, one-page summaries, dashboard and infographics at communityview.ca.