Classroom complexity is a main driver for discussions regarding education in the province. With demand increasing for services addressing these issues, bringing awareness to programs that can aid parents and teachers in helping those with developmental challenges before they enter the system is crucial. 

The Early Childhood Intervention Program (ECIP) is a province wide program that provides support to families with children from birth to school age who are experiencing a delay in their development to reach their developmental milestones and individual goals.  

The program also provides support with transitions into school, referrals to other agencies, and accompaniment to medical appointments. These efforts help children during their crucial early years. 

The Moose Jaw (South Central) branch of ECIP has operated for over 40 years, starting shortly after the organization's inception in 1983. 

“We work with the family to enhance all areas of the child’s development and work on goals that are designed specifically to help that child reach his or her particular developmental milestones,” says Nancy Rosnes, Executive Director at South Central ECIP. 

Working closely with both school divisions (Prairie South School Division and Holy Trinity Catholic School Division), ECIP members meet quarterly and consult to inform educators to the special considerations needed by those on their caseload that will be entering into the school system and what supports those future students may need. 

“(Early childhood intervention works best) two or three years before they even enter into the school division, that sets the good foundation for these kids to learn some of the skills that they may not quite be meeting yet, but definitely what they will be needing once they hit the school system,”  

She says that the earlier intervention happens, the more positive the effect will be in all aspects of a child’s development.  

While there is a waitlist, the program is always accepting referrals, and encourages anyone who feels like their child has any delay in their development to contact ECIP. Using an open referral system means that, with permission from the child’s family, educators, daycares, pediatricians and other family members can direct children to utilize the program. 

“In the last 10 years or so, our wait list has ranged anywhere from three to five months. We typically get kids onto active caseload quite quickly,” 

ECIP works to support families maintaining contact and assistance during the waiting period. 

“If there’s anything that we can do in the meantime to help them while they’re on the wait list, connect them with other services, put referrals into different agencies, physical therapy, ... daycares or whatever the family may need. We don’t just leave them to sit on the wait list,”  

People who are interested in getting involved with ECIP can join their volunteer board, which is currently seeking members who will assist in overseeing the program. 

More information on the program and contact information can be found on the South Central ECIP website