J.P. Bickell Foundation

Easter Seals Canada’s partnership with the National Alliance of Children & Youth (NACY) and Family Resource Program Canada (FRP), with their 500+ members, has uncovered a need for a comprehensive, engaging online directory of services and programs for parents with young children of all abilities, particularly first-time parents.

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Make the First Five Count Screenshot

Getting our kids the treatment, support and/or resources they require as early as possible is critical to promoting their healthy development, optimizing the integration of individuals with emerging special needs with other children & youth, and helping young Ontarians reach their fullest possible potential – all core elements of Easter Seals’ mission and mandate.

The need for such a directory builds on the Make the First Five Count Program—a national initiative led by Easter Seals Canada. Through this robust and informational website, the program illuminates the critical importance of the first five years of a child’s development and the need to be aware of the developmental milestones through which a child progresses at each phase of development.

In 2016, The J.P. Bickell Foundation funded the creation of an online infrastructure to house a national Directory of Programs and Services for parents with young children of all abilities, and specifically, a comprehensive hub for Ontario at www.makethefirstfivecount.ca. The hub features service/program descriptions and location mapping by community/town/city, along with contact information for any further inquiry. Currently there is nothing like this in Ontario’s vast and complex marketplace of programs and services for parents.

Getting our kids the treatment, support and/or resources they require as early as possible is critical to promoting their healthy development, optimizing the integration of individuals with emerging special needs with other children and youth, and helping young Ontarians reach their full potential—all of which are core elements of Easter Seals’ mission and mandate.

Canadian research indicates parents are increasingly challenged in their roles. Although they believe this to be “the most important job they will ever have”, they often struggle with the knowledge, skills and confidence to be the parents they dream of being. Add to that an information overload that forces parents to continually question what is most valid and relevant. This Directory of Programs and Services will launch in early 2017 and will become a trusted destination for all Canadian parents. 

About Make the First Five Count

Make the First Five Count is a national initiative led by Easter Seals Canada. Through this robust and informational website, the program illuminates the critical importance of the first five years of a child’s development and the need to be aware of the developmental milestones a child progresses through each phase of development.

The Early Years

The first five years of life are truly the miracle years. This is the time of greatest human development and the time when we as adults have the most profound influence on a child’s future.

A child’s ability to learn and create, to communicate, to love, to trust and to develop positive self-esteem happens during these first five years. A child’s experiences in these critical early years help determine how that child will relate to the world around them for the rest of their life.

Although every child is unique and develops at his or her own pace, understanding the basics about child development will enable you as parents and caregivers to better anticipate and track certain skills a child typically acquires through each age and stage of development.

All original content found within this site was developed by the experts at Invest in Kids, a national charitable organization with a mission to better support Canadian parents. Invest in Kids experts were thought leaders in coming to better understand Canadian parents: how they felt and thought about their roles as parents. Often their work impacted policy and provided great insight into the world of child development and parenting.

Learn more at www.makethefirstfivecount.ca.

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