Best Start is the Ontario government's early learning and care strategy. In Ottawa, Best Start in one of the overarching goals of Success By 6, a community-wide initiative designed to ensure that early childhood development is a priority in the Ottawa Community. Success By 6 works to increase the awareness in our community about the important impact of the first six years have on a child's life. It works collaborative amongst community partners to support the implementation of Best Start.
A collaborative community engaged in ensuring that ALL children have the best and most equitable opportunity to achieve their optimum development and full potential.
To plan, support the implementation and monitor Ottawa Best Start in accordance with the Provincial Implementation Guidelines for the Ottawa Best Start Leadership Committee
Best Start is a comprehensive, evidence-based early learning and care strategy designed to help give Ontario's children the best possible start in like and help them achieve success in school. The aim is to create a system of services that seamlessly support families and children from birth through their transition into grade one - right in their own communities. It focuses primarily on meeting children's and families' needs by strengthening, enhancing building on and integrating programs and services.
In Ottawa, it was decided that Best Start planning should build on existing planning already established in Ottawa. In 2006, the Best Start planning was integrated with the Success By 6 structure: as Success By 6 was deemed the most appropriate group to act as the Best Start planning Body. The work was undertaken as a part of the role of the Community Advisory Action Group, now named the Ottawa Network for Children - part of the Success By 6 structure. Success By 6 brings to Best Start the community leadership, established partnerships and integration needed to carry out its work.
The Success By 6 Ottawa Network for Children is comprised of community members representing children's services networks in Ottawa. This group works to plan and develop strategies to enhance
services for children and seeks to establish a comprehensive system of services this will support families with children prenatal to 6 years of age. The scope will encompass the full spectrum of
services for this age range, including health, education, social supports, licensed childcare, and other children's services.
Best Start is community-driven, therefore it may look different in different communities (e.g. rural, urban, Francophone and Aboriginal). With guidance from the province, Ottawa will decide how best to organize and integrate services to meet its population's needs. The Ottawa community has enthusiastically embraced the approach and service philosophy behind the provincial Best Start strategy and developed a local vision that aspires to create a collaborative community engaged in ensuring that ALL children have the best and most equitable opportunity to achieve their full potential.
The focus is to work with community partners to develop a system of services that seamlessly supports families and children right in their own communities. All existing organizations that provide services for children from the prenatal stage through Grade 1 are asked to share their expertise and plan together.
The community is asked to align planning processes and delivery models by strengthening, enhancing, building on and integrating programs and services so as to maximize the benefits of
collaborative planning. The beneficiaries are the children and their families.
"System integration in an ongoing process whereby service providers and stakeholders engage in progressively greater degrees of joint service activity (across sectors) along an integration
continuum to provide families with better access to services locally" (Building on the Foundation - Moving Forward, Nov 15, 2006, MCYS).
The foundations for planning at the neighbourhood level have been established, community planning tables have been created and will bring together service providers to a shared table to plan for an integrated system of services for children aged 0-6 within a planning area. The planning areas are rationalized to acknowledge natural neighbourhoods in Ottawa.
System integration is moving forward through the establishment of these community planning tables. The planning tables will develop linkages, increase awareness of services, foster information sharing and share best practices as part of their work. Using community development principles, the goal is to build a system integration framework for community planning, where neighbourhood hub locations and service integration will be established and sustainable.