The Building an Early Start Together (BEST) project is a key component of Saint John’s Social Renewal Strategy to end generational poverty and its priority to close the education achievement gap, from cradle-to-career. This begins with engaging parents and children in high quality learning opportunities in the early years, so families are ready for kindergarten – and beyond.
Launched by the Saint John Early Childhood Coalition (ECDC) in 2012, BEST focuses on the residents of six priority neighbourhoods that are characterized by high rates of poverty, but also a network of strong individuals and organizations. These neighbourhoods include:
- Lower West Side
- Glen Falls
- Waterloo Village
- Old North End
- Crescent Valley
- South End
The key pillars of the BEST initiative and its focus on parents/caregivers and children from ages birth to five years of age in Saint John’s focus (priority) neighbourhoods have remained constant:
Each year we organize at least one networking event for front line workers in organizations supporting families with young children. These events take many different forms (workshops, presentations, info-fairs) and allow people from different organizations to meet each other and build connections that foster collaboration around early childhood development.