The Kid Kit
From the early years through high school completion, children and youth must have support for the full path to development. The foundation for future educational success begins long before school does. This is why United Way of the Alberta Capital Region supports programs and services for age appropriate skills and development in the early years.
Research shows that a child’s brain will develop at an incredible rate during the first few years of life. Children's brains develop best in strong, nurturing relationships. These relationships buffer toxic stress, and include a "serve and return" process where children's attempts to interact with adults are met with attention and returned, much like serving and returning a ball in a game of tennis. When children lack these enriching interactions, they have less opportunity develop their brains in critical ways.
A Resource for Parents:
With the involvement of a trusted home visitor, parents strengthen their understanding of child development and learn new ways to play with and support their child.
There are five different kits, one for each developmental stage from birth to 5 years of age. Each kit contains activity cards that describe “how” to play with your child and “why” a particular activity is necessary for development and all the toys, books and craft supplies to complete the activities. The kits are distributed free of charge to designated programs within agencies and organizations that provide services for young children and their families.
- Increase parents understanding of child development;
- Strengthen engagement between parents and children through ‘serve and return’ interactions; and
- Build capacity of home visitors and practitioners to coach parents on responsive interactions, creating language rich environments and learning through play.
The Kid Kit® was first developed and delivered in Edmonton through a community partnership in 1998. Thanks to the generous funding from Alberta Children’s Services in 2015, The Kid Kit® was updated with latest research on brain development, new books, toys and strategies. The Kid Kit® is now an ongoing resource offered by United Way of the Alberta Capital Region.
“We loved these kits in our community, they were a very interactive and helpful tool to work and communicate with the caregivers and children in our community…they were very appreciative and excited about what was in them. A lot of the time the responses were so powerful, it is exciting to use a tool that engages parents/grandparents/aunts/uncles and caregivers to interact with their children.” - Service Provider
Since 2016, more than 13,400 kits have been distributed to 64 agencies and programs across Alberta, from Pincher Creek to Fort McMurray.
In-person training sessions took place in Lethbridge; Calgary; Edmonton; and Fort McMurray. A total of 124 practitioners, from home visitation programs and Parent Link Centres, participated in face- to-face opportunities to learn and share.
An advisory committee including representatives from Alberta Health Services, Centre for Family Literacy, Alberta Home Visitation Network Association, Early Childhood Development Support Services and Alberta Children’s Services provided ongoing guidance and expertise, including significant contributions to The Kid Kit® re-development and online training videos.
Contact for more information:
Ilene Fleming – Director, Community Building and Investment, Children & Youth
United Way of the Alberta Capital Region by email: firstname.lastname@example.org