Fair focuses on child development

Annual event connects parents with local service providers

The annual Child Development Fair returns to Memorial Park this month.

Organized by the Hope Early Years Committee, the event provides parents with information about healthy child development and community programs that support families with young children.

“The early years are an essential time for children,” said committee coordinator Christine Proulx. “Parents can learn the areas where their child’s developmental skills are higher than others. Many parents are not aware of the range of services that this community does offer children. The fair is a chance to show and tell for the parents, and the service providers.”

The event also helps the community determine what areas and programs need more focus in order to meet the needs of children during their early years, she added.

A nutritionist, speech and language professional, dental hygienist, infant development expert, supported childcare consultant, and public health nurses will be available at the fair for screening and questions.

The event follows up on the success of Story Time in the Park. Over the last two years, Proulx said the program has seen an overall improvement in language and cognitive skill development by 16 per cent.

The latest Early Development Instrument (EDI) shows that 35.8 per cent of kindergarten children in the Fraser-Cascade School District are vulnerable. In Hope, that number jumps to 42.3 per cent. The provincial average is 29 per cent. EDI is a population-based assessment tool created by doctors Dan Offord and Magdalena Janys to measure the state of children’s development in kindergarten.

The Child Development Fair takes place on Aug. 23, from 12-2 p.m. Door prizes will be handed out to parents and caregivers.

For more information or to register, contact Darla Dickinson at 604-869-2279.