Thursday, January 14, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead (Wednesday, January 13, 2009)

Celebrating a child friendly city, School closure conversations set to continue and putting to rest a runaway internet rumour, some of the items of note from the Wednesday news cycle.

Daily News, Front page headline story
PRINCE RUPERT IS OFFICIALLY A 'CHILD FRIENDLY' COMMUNITY -- The Daily outlines some of the events of celebration this weekend in recognition of the city being named a Child Friendly Community. The Lester Centre of the Arts and the Old Islander hall will be the main venues for the events of the weekend.

The City council review featured a look at parking issues that were up on the council agenda on Monday night, the paper also provided its regular city council voting record for our examination, but curiously made no mention of the implementation of budgetary grant decisions, which were outlined on the Northern View hours after the council meeting Monday night.

NDP MP Nathan Cullen offered up some of his thoughts on the recent events on Parliament Hill which included Prime Minister Stephen Harper seeking to prorogue Parliament until March.

High School Wrestling and the city's floor hockey league were the lead items in Wednesday's sports section.

(Archive for Daily News Articles for January 13, 2010 )

The Northern View
Prince Rupert school board discusses closure consultation schedule and high school name -- The wheels get in motion for consultation on the potential elementary school closures at School District, and trustees discuss their next moves on the consolidation of high schools and naming of same (see article here)

The Northern View
Mass suicide pact discounted -- A fast spreading rumour spread through facebook and other portals of the northwest has been discounted by the RCMP, the Terrace detachment had launched an investigation after a number of reports came through about a string of potential youth suicide attempts this week, however no credible proof was discovered to suggest such that any suicide pact existed (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
German Bioenergy Company Signs MOU With Kitimat -- Some postive news for Kitimat with details on the potential plans for the city of a German Bioenergy company (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
RCMP Discount Rumours of "Youth Suicide Pact" -- CFTK provides its report on the sucidie pact reports, which were investigated by Terrace RCMP (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Kitimat Hatchery Seeks Solution -- DFO is working to find an alternative plan for the Kitimat Hatchery which will be facing some heating challenges upon the closure of the Eurocan pulp mill (see article here)

CBC News British Columbia, Daybreak North
The CBC's technical woes appear to be continuing, as they miss their target date of providing on line content on the Daybreak site, the notice that they return on January 12th is still in place, but the updated content isn't.

Daily News, Front page, headline story
Prince Rupert is officially a 'child friendly' community
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Wednesday, January 13, 2009

Local early childhood educators are throwing a special celebration this weekend in honour of Prince Rupert being named as a Child Friendly Community.

Prince Rupert will hold two events on Saturday including a free concert at the Lester Centre for Performing Arts featuring children’s music artist Alleyoop.

“It’s important that all early childhood activities are free and that all children can access them and that there is no child left out based on economic status,” said Success by Six director Duane Jackson, who is also one of the organizers for the events this Saturday.

Alleyoop, a.k.a Al Hirsch, is a well-known storyteller, musician, singer and teacher from Seattle, Washington, who will perform at the PAC starting at 1:30 p.m.

The music concert will be followed by a dinner for invited guests at 6 p.m. at the Old Islander Hall. During the potlatch and catered dinner different speakers will present on the importance of early childhood education.

Among the speakers at the event are childcare advocates Rita Chudnovsky and Sheila Davidson from the Early Childhood Educators of B.C. who will be discussing their involvement with the ECEBC.

Prince Rupert Secondary School gym instructor Tulani Ackerman will provide details on why she will be walking across British Columbia’s vast road network.

“Pretty much it will just be a night to recognize the different groups and people involved in early childhood development and really just celebrate and honour them for the work they do,” said Jackson.

The events are as much about reinforcing the importance of educating children at a younger age as providing children with free entertainment for the day.

Various studies on early childhood education have shown that there is a societal benefit to educating children at a younger age. One U.S. Nobel prizewinner for economics, James Heckman, said money spent on early childhood education has quadrupled the benefits of money spent on adult job training programs and far outpaces investments in high school or college.

Heckman was speaking to 40 business leaders at the St. Louis Federal Reserve last November.

He told the audience that age three is an optimal time to formally teach youngsters emotional control and motivational, organizational and self confidence skills — the “soft skills” that will better ensure that a child one day graduates from high school and achieves a productive adult life.

The idea was - if community leaders really wanted to improve the efficiency of schools then it was important to make children more efficient coming into school.

However, Canada has in the past been accused of falling behind on early childhood education. According to a UNICEF 2008 study, Canada is well behind the leading developed country index when it comes to the percentage of children enrolled in EDE.

“Cognitive, linguistic, emotional, and social development can be enhanced, and the effects appear to be long-lasting,” the report read. But the report was careful to emphasize the importance of parental responsibility when it comes to EDE.

Jackson concurred. He said there is a real need for parents of young children to understand the benefits of early education for children.

“The amount children can take in by the time they are six-years old is huge. After that they start going down – you start decreasing in your ability to take input. When you are six-years old you have every brain cell that you are ever going to have,” said Jackson.

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