- A Parent Readiness Project
This is a two year social inclusion project that started in January 2006 and
led by the Social Planning Network of Ontario (SPNO). Kids & Community is
working in five communities (Hamilton,
Ottawa, Quinte, and
Toronto) with the aim to
build a children’s agenda, a movement toward ensuring that every child that
lives in our communities and across the Province, enjoys
an opportunity to achieve his or her full potential from early in life. Our goal
is to build parent-community partnerships that improve opportunities for
children and their family members through community engagement, action, and
The Social Planning Network of Ontario
(SPNO) is a province-wide network of community based social planning and
community development organizations that provide research, policy analysis,
education and community development supports. SPNO members are committed to
promoting social and economic inclusion and have accumulated valuable experience
on building inclusive community through joint projects. The SPNO proposes
Kids & Community: A Parent Readiness Project.
The Project is engaging families with children aged zero to six years in a
process that builds their capacity to support their children’s learning and
development and to shape strategies for broadening community support for
welcoming and including all children. Five communities will participate in this
initiative: Ottawa, Belleville, Toronto, Hamilton, and North Bay.
School readiness and smooth transition into school are major issues in the
lives of marginalized children in their early years as a result of low income,
disability, racial or cultural acceptance, or family status. As they contend
with these distancing forces, parents struggle to support their children’s
growth and development. The Kids & Community Parent Readiness Project will
facilitate a process for parents to discover and develop their own capacities to
work toward building inclusive environments for their children. Parents will be
supported to become actively and constructively engaged in community strategies
to eliminate barriers to inclusion.
The objectives of the Kids & Community project are:
- To facilitate a process for increasing parents’ capacity to support
their children’s learning and development.
- To facilitate the building of community consensus on issues and actions
aimed at developing inclusive practice and policy as it relates to
supporting families with children under six years of age.
- To promote a broader and deeper understanding of social and economic
inclusion through analysis, education, advocacy, and action.
- To implement, document, and disseminate learning from the project.
Local SPNO members are providing the leadership necessary to facilitate a
- engaging parents in community development activities which identify the
specific and unique needs of their family members;
- linking parents with community and human service providing
- supporting parents to articulate their needs and that of their early
learners within community and institutionally based learning environments;
- engaging parents and community in information and solution-based
activities which increase opportunities for building inclusive communities.
Each community is implementing a community driven, socially inclusive
strategy based on Visioning Days conducted with local parents and service
providers. As a result of identifying priority issues of concern, parents are
organizing to take action. These activities are giving voice to parents and
families as they identify exclusionary practice; build partnerships between
parents, excluded populations, human service organizations, and the broader
community and create action geared toward realizing their vision toward parent
Planning and action tailored to the particular conditions and circumstances
of each community are being supported through a common framework provided by the
central support function of the SPNO. The SPNO has also organized a series of
All-Community Reflection Sessions to develop a common framework, document and
reflect on learning from the field, and create field-tested knowledge on parent
and community mobilization that enhances the life chances of marginalized
children from their earliest years.