Advocacy

MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN ALBERTA

At TOPP KIDS, we know that after school programs are locally driven solutions that help students learn, families balance work with home, and employers invest in the future. Yet, for every child in an after school program, at least two are waiting to get in.

We want to show the world what Afterschool programs mean for youth, parents, and communities across the province.

During the “Critical Hours”, after school care programs have proven to be a crucial aspect of a child’s day, creating opportunities to develop skills, igniting new interests and passions as well as promoting better citizenship in their community. This all happens in an environment that promotes social interactions, the growth of leadership qualities, and the power of PLAY with teams of Early Childhood Educators focused on mentoring young minds to become educated, independent young adults.

Our involvement in various initiatives and programs both province-wide and internationally allows us to form a unique picture of the current state of our industry in Alberta. A picture we intend to help re-shape. From hosting and educating the after school care community through E.L.C.C. & Community Development, in both Alberta and now the United States of America, to our advocacy initiatives like our Lights On After School Calgary movement, involvement with the School Age Care Directors Association of Alberta, Bow Valley College, the Government of Alberta or our community building initiatives with local businesses and not-for-profit groups.

 

The School Age Care Directors Association of Alberta

TOPP KIDS have been associated with the School Age Care Directors Association of Alberta (S.A.C.D.A.) for five years, and this partnership has allowed us to venture forwards and build connections with other organizations and groups within the province. Our owner, Cody Topp, is currently the Vice President of the S.A.C.D.A. group and is committed to using this role to help advocate on behalf of the out of school care industry to both government and other provincial bodies.

 

Professional Development

Our owner, Cody Topp, also chairs the Annual S.A.C.D.A. School Age Care Conference, helping provide expanding professional development for after school care professionals. This is the largest conference of its kind in Alberta.

As part of our growth, we have created E.L.C.C. & Community Development to help bring quality professional development and consultation to school age programs in Alberta, as well as host family and youth workshops and seminars. We use a combination of our Professional Development Specialists and sought after resources and contracted presenters committed to improving the after school care industry and strengthening our community.

 

Lights On After School Calgary

Lights On After School is the only citywide event celebrating after school programs and their role in keeping kids safe, inspiring them to learn and helping working families. The effort is becoming a hallmark of the after school movement and allows programs and communities celebrate annually, inspired by the Lights On Afterschool national movement in the United States of America.

Lights On After School Calgary is an advocacy initiative that helps shines a light on the importance and effect of after school care programs in Calgary and to help programs develop connections with parents, schools, other advocates, groups and businesses in our communities to highlight and expand the importance of after school programs.

This year TOPP KIDS will be headlining the event with every program hosting their own version. We have invited influential bodies such as the Mayor, the Minister of Child Services, Child & Family Licencing, Alberta Child Care Accreditation, MLAs as well as media and radio stations to participate. We plan on making this our biggest event to date and hope to help influence positive change and awareness.

 

Beyond School Hours Conference

Beyond School Hours is a National Education Conference presented by Foundations for a Brighter Future in the United States annually. We have proudly represented TOPP KIDS / SACDA and Alberta at the conference since 2017 and brought back skills, tools, presenters and a renewed passion for working with children of all ages.

 

Government of Alberta

Working with the S.A.C.D.A committee, TOPP KIDS is also directly involved with creating changes on the government level, working with Child Care Licencing, leaders of the Child and Family Services division, all the way up to and including the Minister of Child Services. Some of the initiatives include fundraising family subsidies, professional development, and wage top-ups, as well as effecting changes to the Child Care Regulations happening in 2020. We have the unique opportunity to share ideas and update the province on issues or happenings that arise from a ground level perspective that is centered around children and families and the industry.

 

Education in Alberta

We have been working closely with institutions within the province that are educating the next generation of ECE professionals. Specifically, we are working with Bow Valley College, Portage College, and Mount Royal University to stay up to date on the latest research and curriculums. Additionally, we are fortunate enough to host practicum students in our programs. This partnership provides us with insight on the latest developments in ECE as well as provides students with opportunities to observe and participate in high-quality programming.

 

Inclusive Programs

As we continually strive to be inclusive and open to diverse needs, we have connected with local inclusion programs, specifically Calgary Immigrant Women’s Society (CIWA) and Developmental Disabilities Resource Centre (DDRC). This provides us access to additional resources and research as we move towards bettering the standard of child care in Alberta.

 

By partnering with groups such as those explored above, TOPP KIDS is able to help lead and influence real positive change in our industry as well as stay current with new trends, initiatives and happenings world wide- all of which help influence the quality of our programs and their delivery and help shed light on the importance of after school programs.

If you are interested in helping advocate for School Age Care, please contact us!