The History of the Abbotsford Early Childhood Committee
Funded by Human Resources and Social Development (HRSD) Canada, the Understanding the Early Years initiative (UEY) began in November 1999. Hosted by the United Way of the Fraser Valley, the research based initiative was meant to answer the question: How are our children doing?
A steering committee was formed in September 1999 to guide the activities of the UEY project. In 2003, this steering committee transitioned to the Abbotsford Early Childhood Committee (AECC) and became a Children First initiative funded by the Ministry of Children and Family Development. Children First was a perfect fit with Understanding the Early Years. It provided community mobilization dollars which could be used based on the results of research!
In 2005, the AECC was successful in obtaining funding from the School District's Ready Set Learn Initiative to provide child development and safety fairs in Abbotsford. These fairs have been highly successful and very well attended.
Since 1999 the AECC has been successful in raising awareness of the importance of the early years in Abbotsford. A multitude of partnerships have been formed and services to young children and their families have grown. Using the UEY research a 5 Year Action Plan for early childhood in Abbotsford has been completed. Through the many partnerships created, children and families in our community now enjoy several new free events specifically designed to meet their needs: preschool aged children's sports day (2500 in attendance in 2006), child development and safety fairs, parachute games in the park at 2 playgrounds, and our most recent Children's Festival to highlight the rich diversity of our culture in Abbotsford.