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October 20, 2004
For immediate release

Annual Children's Think Tank Takes Place Tomorrow

Health and Social Services

More than 70 participants representing community organizations, government, parents, and interested members from communities province-wide will meet tomorrow at the Howard Johnson Dutch Inn for the fourth annual Children’s Think Tank, hosted by the Premier’s Council on Healthy Child Development.

The Premier’s Council on Healthy Child Development serves in an advisory capacity to the premier on issues affecting children in Prince Edward Island. The event gives council members an opportunity to hear feedback from people interested in children’s issues.

This year’s guest speaker is Patricia MacAulay, Research Coordinator of Understanding the Early Years, a project of the Early Childhood Development Association. Understanding the Early Years has been collecting data to help develop an understanding of how Island children are doing and to learn about the community factors that influence early development and learning. The presentation will highlight strong trends uncovered during the course of the project and any changes that may have been noted during the research period.

Some organizations participating in the event include the Early Childhood Development Association, Family Resource Centres from across the Island, the Transition House Association, the PEI Environmental Health Cooperative, the Catholic Family Services Bureau, the PEI Association for Community Living, the Breast-feeding Coalition, the Children’s Wish Foundation, the Learning Disability Association of PEI, City of Charlottetown, la fédération des parents de l'Î.-P.-É., and the PEI Teachers Federation.

Participants in the think tank will help the premier’s council to identify priorities for action and strategies to address those priorities.

For more information about the think tank, contact the Children’s Secretariat at (902) 368-6185.


Members of the Premier’s Council on Healthy Child Development:

Chair, Dr. David Wong

– has been caring for children for more than 25 years

– now a pediatrician practising in Summerside for more than 15 years

– graduated from the Hong Kong Faculty of Medicine in 1974 and received further pediatric training in the United States

– was a professor of pediatrics at State University of New York at Buffalo

– moved to Prince Edward Island in 1986

– now a member of the Board of Canadian Pediatric Society, representing PEI and New Brunswick

– past president of the PEI Lung Association

– founding member of the PEI Breastfeeding Coalition

– now liaison for Canada at the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Community Access to Child Health Program

– regional representative on the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Advisory Committee

– writes a regular column on child health

Jane Craswell

– lives in South Rustico

– she and her husband, Brian, have 2 children, aged 1 and 4

– has been actively involved in the family business, Crasdale Farms

– has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Prince Edward Island, as well as an Early Childhood Education diploma from Holland College

– her 4-year-old son was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at 14 months

– Jane and her husband are actively involved with the needs of children with disabilities

Cindy Shepard

– lives in Cardigan with her husband, Daniel

– they have 2 children, Jimmy and Jeannie Carita

– graduate of the Early Childhood Education program at Holland College

– works at the Little People’s Centre in Cardigan

– has worked in the early childhood education field for 9 years

– member of the Early Childhood Development Association, and has served on various committees within the Association

– the mother of a special needs child, she feels strongly that all children should have opportunities to reach their full potential

B.J. Willis

- the Principal of Montague Consolidated.

Debbie Montgomery

- is currently the pastoral assistant and events coordinator of the Immaculate Conception Parish and St. Patrick and Grand River Parish.

- She was recently the provincial director of the Federation des Parents de l'I.P.E. (Kindergarten programs).

Charles Sark

- is retired, but involved with many organizations including Aboriginal Tourism Canada and CBDC West which works with small business in rural communities.

- He is a past Chief of the Lennox Island Band and was the education director at Lennox Island from 1974 - 1976.

Alice Taylor

- is retired from the early childhood education and care field. She has over 30 years of experience in the field. She began in the field as the director of a centre, and then worked with the ECEC program at Holland College in various roles since then.

- in her retirement, she now works with children and families.

- She co-owns a small business called Designed Destiny. The focus of her work is to help people bring balance and purpose to life.

Media Contact: Sara Underwood
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