Early Childhood Literacy and Numeracy

How do we improve early childhood literacy and numeracy in Manitoba? We need innovative ideas for improving school readiness before age 5.

Submission Portal Closed

North Forge Technology Exchange is thrilled to
announce the finalists of the first
ever Manitoba Open Innovation Challenge

“We challenged our province to solve a significant social issue and they came through exactly as we knew Manitobans would,” said Jeff Ryzner, President of North Forge Technology Exchange. “The Manitoba Open Innovation Challenge is based on a very simple principle – that ideas from many different groups of diverse people result in new innovative solutions. We saw that theory proven over and over again these last few months as the submissions and ideas we received were nothing short of exceptional.”
Over 100 entries were submitted as part of the Challenge, which were first judged by an extensive group of local community stakeholders for creativity, financial viability and for how scalable the idea was at a provincial level. From there, ten semi-finalists were selected to present their submissions to a smaller panel on April 19, 2018 where the following three teams were selected as finalists:


Red River College and Healthy Child Manitoba:

This online platform will be designed with and for young Manitoban parents to capitalize on their instinctive desire to “get it right” when raising their child. Using the idea of “by young people, for young people,” the platform will provide engaging, entertaining and evidence-based videos and activities that can be used by new and expectant parents to set the stage for literacy and numeracy development and their precursors.

Seven Oaks School Division:

The School Division participates in the provincial Early Development Instrument (EDI), an assessment tool for children in kindergarten. As we dig deeper into the EDI data, we find that those children who are at the most risk are the children of families who are not connected to preschool programming offered within our community. We have proposed to take these preschool programs to the homes of families who need this support.
Through monthly home visitations, fully trained home visitors will provide families with support in child development, play, literacy and numeracy skills. Each participating family will receive a monthly stipend to assist with expenses to support children’s healthy development including resources such as books, toys and games.

Career Trek Inc.:

Career Trek’s Pre-School Trek aims to engage families and early childhood educators in a learning process for their pre-kindergarten children (aged 2-4 years). In a similar concept to low-cost community sports, Pre-School Trek will use engaging activities to walk families through the steps to understand school readiness and equip them with tools and strategies to educate children at home and through community events. The user-friendly toolkit ensures public accessibility, and the local framework of the kit provides a Manitoba-themed learning journey that is age appropriate. Communities will become empowered to create change and address literacy and numeracy challenges in Manitoba.


North Forge will now work with the three finalists to create development and implementation plans for their ideas to try and make a positive impact in Manitoba’s child literacy and numeracy ratings.
“The Challenge started with ideas but it can’t stop there,” said Ryzner. “It’s time to develop pilots and start driving real change for children in our province – that’s what the Challenge was all about.”


You can find additional resources and information at the following links:

  • Brain Architecture

    Stress, Brain Architecture, Serve and Return

    Palix Foundation, June 2014
  • Brain Architecture

    Experiences Build Brain Architecture

    Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University
  • Early Development Instrument (EDI)

    Schools and communities working together for Manitoba’s children

    Manitoba Government
  • Starting Early, Starting Strong

    A Guide for Play-Based Early Learning in Manitoba, Birth to Six

    Manitoba Government

  • Starting Early, Starting Strong

    Manitoba’s Five-Year Plan for Early Childhood Development

    Manitoba Government

  • Starting Early, Starting Strong

    Manitoba’s Early Childhood Development, November 2013

    Manitoba Government

  • The Early Catastrophe

    The 30 Million Word Gap by Age 3
    By Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley

  • Translating the Science of Early Childhood Development

    Videos & Interactive Features

    Manitoba Government
  • Early Childhood Literacy and Numeracy

    Evidence to Inform Manitoba Innovation
    Dr. Rob Santos

Information and Q&A Session • November 23, 2017
(Jeff Ryzner, President North Forge • Dr. Rob Santos, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Associate Secretary to Healthy Child Committee of Cabinet


Ideation Session • December 1, 2017
inVision Edge Webinar