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    President: Teresa Dukes

    441 – 100 Innovation Drive
    Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 6G2• P: 204-262-6400

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    President: Shane Li

    24 Aberdeen Avenue
    Pinawa, Manitoba R0E 1L0 • P: 204-262-6400

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    Vice-President: Marney Stapley

    3rd Floor, 125 Adelaide Street
    Winnipeg, Manitoba R3A 0W4 • P: 204-799-2033

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Leveling The Playing Field

When the Manitoba Open Innovation Challenge launched in late 2017, we asked Manitobans to give us their most innovative ideas on how we solve Manitoba’s low rankings for childhood literacy and numeracy. But even we were surprised when one group responded with… don’t try to solve it at all.

That’s not to say Manitoba’s provincial ranking of 8th and 9th for literacy and numeracy respectively (source: Organization for Economic Co-Operation & Development) doesn’t need to be addressed. It’s simply that the team at Seven Oaks School Division, like several other groups, felt the rankings were symptoms of a broader issue.

“Literacy and numeracy scores are 100% linked to social realities,” said Cathy Horbas, Coordinator for the Seven Oaks Early Years Coalition and Divisional Teacher Team Leader for Early Years in Seven Oaks School Division. “We understand that rankings and scores are important, but I’ve done my share of home visits where there isn’t a single toy or book in the entire house. This isn’t an academic issue, it’s a social issue.”

“There could be transportation challenges, language barriers, poverty or maybe mental health issues,” said Horbas. “There are literally hundreds of reasons why families may not be able access preschool programs. If we can solve that, school performance will improve across the board, but as a byproduct of addressing the core issues.”

With that direction in mind, the team developed their Challenge submission based on Early Development Instrument data that shows children who are not connected to community preschool programming are at a much greater risk of underperforming in school down the road.

So the real question became – why are those families not connecting with preschool programs and what can be done to help them?

“The goal is to try and remove social barriers and take preschool to the family where they are,” says Horbas. “But we have to let the family set the agenda, so we can’t determine what that delivery system looks like – the family does.”

To that end, Horbas says preschool supports could be delivered by people with a variety of skill sets and backgrounds, even through non-educator resource workers who may already have a connection with the family.

“The important thing to remember is that it’s not about what works for educators and government, it needs to be about the people who need the help,” says Horbas. “We realize that taking an individualized approach may sound daunting but the only way this issue will be solved is by focusing on one family at a time.”

The home-based preschool support would be primarily done by supplying families with guidance tailored directly to them and their backgrounds, as well as physical tools such as books, toys and games.

“Young children learn through play, and those who aren’t able to access preschool programs may not be getting those same opportunities,” said Horbas. “Our submission for the challenge was really about overcoming barriers and giving all children equal access to early-years learning.”

As the Challenge now heads into the prototyping phase, North Forge Mentor, Suzanne Braun, is hoping Winnipeg’s incredibly generous corporate community will be able to help move things forward with valuable donations.

“Donations of new or used toys, books and games would go a huge way to getting this project off the ground,” said Braun. “We believe this kind of approach can be really effective and we don’t want cost to become an obstacle, so community support will be key.”

Any corporations or individuals wanting to donate items to the program, can do so by dropping off items at any North Forge location or by contacting Suzanne Braun ([email protected]) to arrange for pickup before September 15, 2018.

Click here to learn more about what you can donate.

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Bell MTS

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MNP LLP

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Powerland

A tech startup since 1985. For over 30 years, Powerland has been one of Canada’s leading IT infrastructure providers.

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Business Development Bank of Canada

BDC is the only bank devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs. We offer financing, venture capital, growth & transition capital and consulting services.

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Deloitte

Get forward-thinking business advice. With over 150 years of experience, Deloitte is one of the leading professional services firms in Canada.

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Royal Bank of Canada is Canada’s largest bank, and one of the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management, insurance, investor services and capital markets products and services on a global basis. We have over 80,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 16 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 36 other countries.

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Bit Space Development Ltd. is an interactive digital media studio that specializes in creating innovative learning experiences for the classroom and workplace. We work with educators and industry professionals from around the world to develop effective solutions for education and training using cutting edge digital media technologies.

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Princess Auto

For more than 85 years, Princess Auto has been supplying trade professionals, home mechanics or people who simply love building things with the tools and equipment they need to figure it out – whatever that “it” may be. With a unique assortment of tools, equipment and products, ranging from hydraulics to welding, Princess Auto complements the home improvement sector rather than competing with it.

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We offer highly skilled service professionals, 24 hour emergency service, preventative maintenance programs, training and emergency rental units. JCV Mechanical offers more than just compressed air products. turn this around and start with JCV mechanical offers more.

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Bockstael

For over 100 years the Bockstael name has been synonymous with construction in Manitoba. From the humble beginnings of a Belgian carpenter, to the fourth generation of family ownership, building is in our blood. We pride ourselves on world-class innovation and a client-first approach to doing business. This is our commitment to serving the province we choose to call home for the next 100 years — and beyond.

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Stu Clark Centre for Entreprenuership

The Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship (SCCE) is here to support entrepreneurial activities across the entire University of Manitoba campus. In addition to supporting students at the I.H. Asper School of Business we also support students from ALL faculties across the University of Manitoba – Fort Garry and Bannatyne Campus including: Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences, Faculty of Science, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Education and more!

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Due North Systems

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LGD Pinawa

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Portage Regional Economic Development

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