Who we are

Childhood Connections supports children and the people who care for them.

Research shows that 90% of brain development happens in the first six years of a child’s life. The preschool years are the most active period of brain development. Early experiences impact the development of; speech and language, fine and gross motor skills, cognitive, social and emotional wellbeing. We want every child in the Central Okanagan to get a healthy start in life, physically, mentally, and socially.

Our purpose is to ensure that all children in the Central Okanagan get a healthy start in life.

Caring for our community’s children benefits us all. We help support children by caring for educators, parents, caregivers and families. In doing this, we improve every other aspect of life in the Central Okanagan.

Our vision

We see a future where every child in the Central Okanagan receives the care, education, and love they need to become confident, compassionate, thriving adults.

Our story

Childhood Connections believes that early childhood development is an issue of social justice and health equity. We work in collaboration with others towards a shared vision where all children are thriving in healthy societies.

Our not-for-profit society was founded in 1977 as a resource for child care providers; Like the children we help support, we too have grown over the years and continue to adapt to meet changing community needs. Our understanding of our mission and what ‘child care’ means may have evolved a little over the decades, but our commitment to Central Okanagan children remains as strong as ever.

Ongoing research into early childhood development leads us to take a holistic view and approach to childhood development and care. Today, our support and services include parents, family members, child care providers, early childhood educators, and more. Every person, agency and organization that impacts a child’s life is part of the ‘child care’ ecosystem.

“Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives us purpose and meaning to our lives.” — Dr. Brené Brown

The current child vulnerability rate in British Columbia is 33.4%. In real terms, this means that 14,468 Kindergarten students in BC begin their school careers vulnerable in at least one area of their development. Childhood Connections has committed to improving early childhood development outcomes for vulnerable children. Vulnerable children are those who, without additional support and care, are more likely to experience future challenges in their school years and beyond.

Centering early childhood development at the core of community development will solve many of society’s problems.

Our values

Our values drive every decision we make and action we take. We live by the same values and recommendations that we give to our children, knowing that they are at the heart of everything we do.

Connection gives us meaning.

We cannot be supportive and fulfill our mission without connection. Strong relationships are the foundation of our work, and we will strive to ensure that others feel heard, seen, and valued.

Do it with enthusiasm!

Whatever you do, do it with enthusiasm. Be excited about the life you live, the work you do, and the people you get to work with and support.

Collaboration is great for kids and good for the world.

Working with others is how we succeed. Collaboration brings together new ideas, opportunities, and improvements to the work that we’re already doing.

Do what’s right, even when it’s hard

We are committed to living and operating by our values. Integrity is a choice. We will choose to do what is right over what is convenient or comfortable.

Be brave and lead by example.

We will be brave and break new ground. We will be humble, honest, optimistic, and supportive. We will lead by example and
strive to inspire others while remaining focused on our mission.

Be kind.

Be kind, both to yourself and others. Practice compassion, be a friend and be generous with what you have. Your kindness improves the lives of others, which improves your own life too.

Take responsibility.

Accountability means that we take responsibility for our work and ourselves. We will rely on science, data, and our wealth of experience and knowledge to achieve our goals. We can’t guarantee that we’ll always get it right, but we can promise that we will be accountable.

What we do

We connect families with the people and resources they need to help children thrive, including childcare providers, community partners, agencies, high-quality programming, services and support. We connect childcare providers with training and educational opportunities that help them improve childhood development outcomes.

Childhood Connections Okanagan Family & Childcare Society exists to:

  • Increase the social, cognitive and emotional development of children;
  • Improve the effectiveness of parents and caregivers to provide positive, stable, and nurturing relationships with children, and;
  • Enhance the effectiveness of communities to help children live, learn, thrive and play.

What the science says

From 0 to 2

The first 1,000 days of a child’s development set the foundation for brain development. This period sees significant development of the brain’s sensory circuits, as well as its limbic system circuits for emotions. These limbic systems help determine a child’s ability to respond and connect with others, as well as manage stress.

From 2 to 5

At this stage, a child’s brain develops complex, interconnected neural networks between the limbic system (arousal, motor control) and the prefrontal cortex (planning, decision making, moderating social behaviour).

Development at this crucial stage has a lasting impact on a child’s abilities to plan, make decisions, explore ideas, pretend and get along with others. The preschool brain lays the foundation for lifelong learning, including reading, mathematics, science, and creative arts.

When children fall behind

It becomes harder for a 5-year-old to learn when they struggle to pay attention or get along with others. Children who have cognitive and language delays at age 5 will often face greater hardship throughout their lives, including increased risk of poverty and mental health issues.

Facts and statistics

The Wave 7 data (2016-2019) of the Early Development Instrument (EDI) show that in the Central Okanagan 30% or 1,401 children are experiencing vulnerabilities on at least one area of development in Wave 7:

  • physical health & well-being
  • social competence
  • language & cognitive development
  • communication skills and general knowledge

The highest vulnerability being with social competence and emotional maturity

  • 90% of brain development happens in the first six years of a child’s life.
  • 60% of parents in the Okanagan have their child in a child care arrangement (Statistics Canada) and over half of these children are Indigenous.
  • The current child vulnerability rate in British Columbia is 33.4%, meaning that 14,468 Kindergarten students in our province begin their school careers vulnerable on one or more of the scales of the EDI.
  • communication skills and general knowledge
  • The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends daily physically active play for all preschool children.
  • Investment in children aged 0 to 3 provides a 10-to-1 benefit.
  • Investments in early childhood provide a greater return than formal education or job training.
  • Economists estimate that every $1 of public money spent on early childhood education provides a $6 return over the lifetime of a child.
  • Increasing enrolment rates for early childhood education to reach top-performing OECD levels would allow 76,000 women to enter the workforce. This would lift an estimated 23,000 Canadian families -many of them single parents - out of poverty.

Our Mandate

To promote affordable, quality & inclusive child care within the community by working cooperatively with all local child care organizations, community partners and services. We support parents by providing child care referrals, child care information, and support to access child care subsidies, in addition to providing a wide range of childcare &  family resource services and information.