2022 Recipient biographies: Excellence in Early Childhood Education

Certificate of Excellence

Nirmali Warnakula: Diversity enriching learning

Nirmali Warnakula: Diversity enriching learning

Year: 2022 — Province: Alberta
Certificate of Excellence Recipient

Intercultural Child and Family Centre
Child Care Centre
12-24 months
Edmonton, Alberta

"Nirmali models responsive relationships in early learning and care, providing support to children, staff and families. I have witnessed Nirmali develop innovative ways to adapt to evolving early childhood education giving children skills to feel a sense of self-worth and pride. She incorporates diversity into her teachings at the Intercultural Child and Family Centre and finds creative ways to celebrate and teach the understanding that people are different and unique. Her achievements resonate throughout the community."

Director

Nirmali understands the challenges that exist for newcomers to Canada and works to connect with other educators, children and families. She enriches the lives of children with a perspective that they relate to.

Philosophy of care

Nirmali's academic background, coupled with her many years of early childhood education experience make her an authority in child development. She observes the children's curiosities as they interact with each other and with their environment, while nurturing each child's interests. Teaching activities, including play, are designed to meet the children's cognitive, social, emotional, physical, sensory and language milestones.

Support of child development and involvement with parents, families and the community

Nirmali connects with each child, whether they are verbal or not. She is loving, attentive and nurtures the confidence necessary for each child to thrive. She goes the extra mile when it comes to supporting child development. For instance, she documents the learning trajectory of the group as well as the successes and interests of individuals. In this way, she can constantly adjust her teaching to fit the needs and preferences of each child.

Respect for individual identity is one of the keys to successful teaching. When a child first starts in Nirmali's class, a questionnaire is sent to the parents with a learning story booklet asking about family histories, backgrounds, professions, family pastimes and holidays celebrated. In this manner, families are assured that their child's culture is understood and is best cared for. This also ensures that teaching in the classroom is in harmony with the learning provided at home.

Nirmali understands the barriers that newcomer educators may face in their own professional advancement. She supports them every way that she can. The lives of countless children (and many of her colleagues) have been and will continue to be enriched by Nirmali's professional ability to foster positive learning environments. Nirmali leads by example, and encourages others to value responsive relationships. Her world is one of inclusion and compassion.

Get in touch!

Intercultural Child and Family
9538 107 Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5H 0T7
780-441-1443
info@icfc.ca
Facebook: @ICFCChildcare

Linda Yook Nga Fong: Bringing out the best in children

Linda Yook Nga Fong: Bringing out the best in children

Year: 2022 — Province: British Columbia
Certificate of Excellence Recipient

Huckleberry Daycare
Child care centre
11 month to 3 years
Vancouver, British Columbia

"It is difficult to convey Linda's abilities through words, because what makes her exceptional is not something that is typically validated – e.g., achievements on paper or impacts on policy – but rather the calming effect of her presence and her exquisite ability to connect with young children. She has dedicated her life to education and she is a master of her field."

Parent

Linda works as an educator at Huckleberry daycare – a childcare center for infants/toddlers that is part of the University of British Columbia Child Care Services. Over her 25-year career as an educator, she has touched the lives of countless children and continues to be an example in the field.

Philosophy of care

Linda provides a rich and supportive learning environment for children in her care. She has a strong focus on nature-based play and enjoys teaching children about our reciprocal relationship with the land. Linda also places strong emphasis on inclusion and diversity, and strives to incorporate Indigenous learning. As well, Linda is passionate about involving families and the greater community in her work.

Support of child development and involvement with parents, families and the community

Supporting child development is a cornerstone of Linda's work. She describes educators as co-learners and co-constructors of learning. She has an attitude of curiosity and exploration, and learns alongside the children. In the classroom, Linda places strong emphasis on promoting physical development through nature-based play. This brings significant benefits, including to children's physical health. She is passionate about developing caring relationships among all involved in the child's development – not only between children and educators, but also with parents. For her, school is the extension of the home learning environment.

Linda offers opportunities for self-directed and creative play. She provides materials that encourage imaginative play and allow children to explore and experiment. These include sand, water, stones, sticks, pinecones, and wooden blocks. Children can also draw, paint, and use chalk. They are encouraged to get messy and fully immerse themselves in the sensory aspect of various mediums. In other words, she leaves the space for creativity.

Linda believes that young children can understand the reciprocal relationship to the land and how our actions affect it. She fosters a sense of stewardship, and mutual love and respect between children and the land. She shows children how the land provides the essentials of life and how our rapport to the land should be one of respect and harmony. Linda breaks down the information in a way that young children can understand. This is critical for many reasons including: promoting healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, developing an understanding of the natural world and our place in it, and a sense of why the natural world should be protected. In this way, she promotes appreciation for other perspectives and values, and ultimately a cultural openness for the citizens of the future.

Get in touch!

Huckleberry Daycare
2735 Osoyoos Crescent
Vancouver, BC V6T 1X7
604-822-0547
Huckleberry.staff@ubc.ca

Candy Paul: Bringing the best out of children

Candy Paul: Bringing the best out of children

Year: 2022 — Province: New Brunswick
Certificate of Excellence Recipient

Under One Sky Monoqonuwicik-Neoteetjg Mosigisg Inc
Aboriginal Head Start
2 to 5 years
Fredericton, New Brunswick

"Candy's commitment to early childhood learning is only equalled by her passion and motivation to educate young Indigenous children about their language and their culture. She integrates Indigenous knowledge and heritage in all the activities children are involved in. (…) She has had a huge impact on my life and the lives of my children. She always strives to be the best at her job and bring out the best in children."

Parent

With over 20 years of experience as an early childhood educator Candy has a clear purpose. She is committed to implementing pedagogical approaches that foster creativity and bring learning experiences into playtime. She focusses on integrating First Nations languages and culture into the curriculum. She strongly believes that First Nations children's education must be centered on their identity and their ways of knowing.

Philosophy of care

Candy's approach to learning is based on two premises. First, the learning experience is much broader than the official curriculum. Her intention, and her practice, are focussed on reconnecting people with traditional culture and knowledge through direct experience of being on the land. And second, no one can be left behind. She discovers the uniqueness of every child and develops relationships based on their preferences and interests.

Support of child development and involvement with parents, families and the community

Candy's learning space is not limited by the four walls of the classroom. This is what brought the development of the "Take it outside" land-based learning program. The inspiration arose from her own childhood experience on the land and the desire to instill a greater appreciation for the natural world and our place in it.

In the classroom, Candy teaches children how to express their needs and feelings by listening with intent and encouraging them to share the way they see things. This is all about engagement and participation, not only in group activities but also in the individual process of acquiring knowledge and experience. This positive environment to learning is foundational because it generates authentic curiosity and quest for learning.
Candy has and continues to work with outdoor educators to create a land-based education curriculum that is culturally appropriate and enriching for pre-school Indigenous children and their families. The premise is to let children take the lead over their environment – both in the classroom and outside. Candy is contributing to making the learning process better reflect identity, history and culture.

Candy's career is rooted in service to the community and the needs of Indigenous children and families. Her dedication to expanding Indigenous learning paths and opening doors of opportunities for the children under her care has led to academic success for a large number of children in the community, not to mention the upbringing of people in touch with their heritage and in harmony with themselves.

Get in touch!

Under One Sky Monoqonuwicik-Neoteetjg Mosigisg Inc
303 Union Street
Fredericton, NB E3A 3M1
506-458-9269
info@uosfc.ca

Sue Thatcher: Meeting children where they are

Sue Thatcher: Meeting children where they are

Year: 2022 — Province: Ontario
Certificate of Excellence Recipient

Sue Thatcher

Centennial Infant Child Centre
Integrated Therapeutic Child Care Centre
18 months to 4 years olds
Toronto, Ontario

"Sue's nomination is timely. It feels like the world is waking up a little bit more to our common humanity--that no one is less human because they get around in a wheelchair or communicate using assistive technology or are visually impaired. But Sue has always known this. Every day she surrounds children with rich learning opportunities tailored to their needs. She celebrates their growth and holds their challenges in her heart. She sees what is right about each and every one of them."

Parent

Children in Sue's class start with a harder developmental hill to climb. CICC is a therapeutic preschool serving children with a wide range of diagnoses and needs. Sue's children have Down syndrome, autism, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, rare genetic disorders, hearing/visual impairment, and histories of extreme prematurity, all in the same class.

Philosophy of care

Sue sees her job as that of a researcher. "I learn something from every child," she says. She studies the children and listens to parents and therapists. She creates an Individual Program Plan for each child. These are actually documents that outline children's likes, dislikes, successes, needs, and the strategies to help them. They meet each child where they are, no matter how developmentally compromised, and use interests and strengths to address deficits. They are a holistic description of children in all their complexity – a powerful tool that allows deep understanding of the child, and insightful interaction towards an optimal learning process.

Support of child development and involvement with parents, families and the community

Sue creates a community where difference is celebrated, and everyone gets the assistance they need. The children bask in her attention and her firm belief that they can do it, whatever the task is. And they do. Her results in terms of development are impressive. Sue celebrates each milestone, every inch of progress. After the celebration, it's time to ponder what the child needs next. This is where development happens: in the careful consistency of a thousand tiny daily interactions, and in the safety of a trusting relationship between a teacher and a child who knows she truly understands and believes in them. This is the developmental space that she creates for each child.

For Sue, every achievement is a big achievement. And it occurs on an individual level. Eager to teach children with the most unique developmental needs, she spends hours of her personal time researching any diagnoses she is unfamiliar with and collaborating with the child's medical and therapeutic professionals, to design creative and effective approaches to help the child develop. Sue goes above and beyond, learning as much as possible to create a detailed developmental plan appropriate to the child's needs. Parents feel her strong support and recognize her commitment to helping them and their child succeed. Inevitably, they are thrilled when they observe the growth in their child's development, made possible by the compassionate care they receive in Sue's classroom.

Get in touch!

Centennial Infant Child Centre
1580 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON M4T 1Z8
416-935-0200
info@cicc.on.ca
Facebook: @CentennialsKids
Twitter:@CentennialsKids
Instagram: @centennials_kids

Sylvie Paquette: Improving learning through innovation

Sylvie Paquette: Improving learning through innovation

Year: 2022 – Province: Quebec
Certificate of Excellence Recipient

Sylvie Paquette

Centre de la petite enfance Mamie-Pom
Home-based program
Age five and under
Saint-Césaire, Quebec

"Sylvie Paquette is one of those parent figures you never forget. Her open mind, creativity and genuine passion for early childhood education make her a likeable and inspiring professional, someone you can always count on to help families."

Parent.

For the last three decades, Sylvie has been accompanying young children in their first social experiences outside the family home. She is always on the lookout for the latest breakthroughs, trends and knowledge in early childhood education, and adapts her teaching to the diverse and changing needs of her young charges. Sylvie's commitment to constant improvement makes her an exemplary and extraordinary educator.

Philosophy of care

Sylvie's multidisciplinary approach draws on the world's most ancient cultures, particularly those of hunter-gatherers, and offers parents the opportunity to rethink their relationships with their children. Her educational programming has a panoply of activities including an introduction to arts and crafts, sound and music, drama, the natural sciences and fitness. In this learning environment, the children are curious and calm, and love to explore.

Support of child development and involvement with parents, families and the community

In the classroom, Sylvie gears her curriculum to the developmental level of each child. The choice of daily activities, dominated by play, is driven by the children's interests. They discover the world from the angle of what catches their fancy. For example, the children were interested in mushrooms, so the class picked, prepared and tasted them. This approach, which appeals to the children's imaginary world and symbolic representations, draws them in and strengthens their engagement in the learning process.

With her trademark pursuit of constant innovation in order to better meet the needs of families, Sylvie has created a local network of mutual aid. She has therefore formed a multidisciplinary team of early childhood professionals, including a psychologist, an occupational therapist and an educator, to meet the special needs of some of the children. Her formation of this team is one shining example of Sylvie's unwavering commitment to meeting the development needs of all children with whom she works.

Sylvie designed a safe place in her care environment where children can paint without being judged from the outside. "Play-of-painting" is not in fact play, not even an art class, but more a child development activity. All the children are encouraged to follow their inner guidance and to paint for their audience of one, without worrying about how well they are doing or what others may think. Play-of-painting gives children free rein to express themselves and builds confidence and self-esteem. In this way, she steadily engages many children who face special challenges, and they receive the support they need to give them a good start in life.

Get in touch!

Centre de la petite enfance Mamie-Pom
1298, avenue St-Paul
Saint-Césaire, QC J0L 1T0
450-469-4242
CPE@mamiepom.com

Certificate of Achievement

Kerin Brice Ching: Optimal development for each child

Kerin Brice Ching: Optimal development for each child

Year: 2022 — Province: Alberta
Certificate of Achievement Recipient

Kerin Brice Ching

Ready, Set, Go! Preschool – Trellis Society
Child Care Centre
Ages 3 to 5
Calgary, Alberta

"One of Kerin's super powers is helping children grow their social and emotional skills. She works with them to understand their emotions while encouraging them to tend to those emotions with gentleness and kindness. My daughter has shown incredible growth in both areas as she learns to pay attention to her feelings and express them to while also being empathetic to the feelings of those around her."

Parent

Kerin has the remarkable ability to build strong connections with each of her students. And she puts it to good use. She modifies lessons and activities to the developmental level of each, always challenging them – at their level – so that they build self-confidence. This ability has continued to develop over her 16-year career as an educator.

Philosophy of care

For Kerin, education is a team activity. She has long understood that learning is a process that involves everyone in the child's environment. Success in transmitting skills and knowledge is closely linked to collaboration with all stakeholders – including parents, specialists and colleagues – who have a key role in the child's progress. For instance, engaged parents are much likelier to complement the classroom pedagogy with their own activities if they are aware of the details of their child's learning trajectory.

Support of child development and involvement with parents, families and the community

The program at Kerin's school is designed using a play-based, emergent curriculum model which has a large focus on social-emotional learning. With a diverse group of children in her classroom, Kerin is skillful at meeting their individual needs. She designs lessons that focus on the whole child. She creates a welcoming classroom which is both stimulating and inclusive. There is a strong sense of community in her classroom where all children's perspectives are heard and valued.

Kerin understands that the classroom is one part of a child's learning experience. She develops strong relationships not only with the children but also with the families. She takes her time to get to know each child as well as their parents, siblings, and other important people in the children's lives. She sends comprehensive emails informing parents of the focus of each week's upcoming activities and social-emotional learning.

Among Kerin's class are children with specific needs. She remains true to her fundamental belief that teaching is a collaborative endeavour. Observing certain situations, she consults with the therapists about any new strategies that could be used in the classroom, how the children are progressing, and how she can better support the child and their family. When she notices a need that develops later on in the school year, she consults therapists and gets the best possible advice. She provides each of her students with optimal learning, and the personal skills that will make them successful.

Get in touch!

Ready, Set, Go! Preschool – Trellis Society
731 13 Avenue NE
Calgary AB T2E 1C8
403-969-5963
earlyeducation@growwithtrellis.ca
Twitter: @TrellisYYC
Facebook: @TrellisYYC
Instagram: @trellisyyc

Nola Lee Stachniak: A holistic approach to learning development

Nola Lee Stachniak: A holistic approach to learning development

Year: 2022 — Province: Alberta
Certificate of Achievement Recipient

Nola Lee Stachniak

Auntie Lee's Innovative Child Care
Child Care Centre
Ages 1-5
Edmonton, Alberta

"What we love about Auntie Lee's Innovative Child Care is that Lee and the other staff don't just watch our children, they help us raise them. Their holistic approach to child care allows us to work as a team and provide a consistent environment for our children to develop foundational skills that allow them to thrive. Lee and her team truly have become family to the children and embody the idea that it takes a village to raise a child."

Parents

Lee has more than 30 years in child care, formally opening in 1991 as a family day home. While this is regular daycare facility, she often selects families with children whom she knows may have unique needs, and may benefit from a smaller learning environment and experienced care providers.

Philosophy of care

Diversity, inclusion, nurturing, community, nature, and creativity – those are the principles that guide Lee's approach as an ECE educator. While her program supports cognitive, physical, language, emotional, and social development she is truly passionate about supporting children in the development of their overall wellness, and self-esteem. She has a holistic approach to development but she also focussed on the basics of literacy. She researches the root causes of specific behaviours, and empowers the parents to seek out additional resources or assessments when required. Daycare is a big transition for a child. Lee ensures this change is as harmonious as possible.

Support of child development and involvement with parents, families and the community

Lee's child care facility is bright, open, and cheerful. There is intentional design to create a stimulating learning environment. Attached to her family home, the facility has three times the amount of childcare space than is legally required per child, allowing children ample space to roam and play. The children participate in engaging activities, including exploration of rocks and minerals, visits from law enforcement, and experiments, such as volcano making, as well as visits from pets providing real-life learning.

One of Lee's strengths is finding opportunities to celebrate the achievements of the children, with milestones such as potty training, or other behavioural goals. At the same time, she is reassuring to parents that their children are on track, or if they're not, working with them to understand the underlying reasons.

At morning drop off, Lee individually greets the parents and children for a detailed handover, and looks for issues that may affect the child's day. Again, her focus of the whole family is evident in everything she does. She shows a genuine interest in each family, often aware of what challenges or celebrations they might be experiencing at any given moment. Lee involves parents in decisions regarding what takes place at the daycare. She basically teams up with the parents to provide and maintain the care and attention that each child needs so that her daycare is the extension of the learning and development that takes place at home.

Get in touch!

Auntie Lee's Innovative Child Care
7904 10A Avenue
Edmonton, AB T6K 3S5
780-450-2005
lnstachniak@shaw.ca

Amanda Adams: Engaging children for success

Amanda Adams: Engaging children for success

Year: 2022 — Province: British Columbia
Certificate of Achievement Recipient

Amanda Adams

Elm Drive YMCA Child Care Centre
Child Care Centre
0 to 5 years
Chilliwack, British Columbia

"The people who commit themselves to excellence in this field develop skills in collaboration, communication, empathy and innovation, which drive forward their ability to demonstrate best practices as educators. Amanda Adams is an exemplary educator who models a passion for child development, family-centred care, community engagement, and professional growth. She is an outstanding example of excellence in our field and contribution to the lives of children, families, and educators in Chilliwack."

Program Manager

As an early childhood educator, Amanda is responsible for supporting the growth and development of children from birth to 5 years old. Amanda brings her usual calm demeanor and positive outlook every day, helping children to feel safe and secure and able to have fun.

Philosophy of care

As an educator, Amanda has an outstanding ability to appreciate each child's unique abilities. She ensures the program embraces children and families where they are at developmentally. In her curriculum implementation, she actively engages children in open-ended, interest-based activities that meet children's individual developmental needs. As well, she models this approach for her co-workers, which broadens the range of experiences the centre can provide.

Support of child development and involvement with parents, families and the community

Amanda creates a space where everyone feels safe and valued. The relationship Amanda creates with the children and their families supports the opportunity for them to reach their full potential. The classroom is only one segment of Amanda's practice. In her role as an educator and Team Leader at Elm Drive YMCA Child Care, Amanda has had a real impact in the Chilliwack community. Her dedication to building up families is demonstrated daily. She understands that strengthening families is a key element of the mental health of the child, and their outlook for the future.

Amanda finds ways to engage with the community. She has partnered with the Chilliwack Lions Club to facilitate Santa visits, complete with gifts for each child. She also works with community non-for profits to arrange food hampers for families. Amanda also supports the work of the YMCA through her dedication to fundraising. She brings the community together in the annual Strong Kids Walk-a-thon, Read-a-thon, and other awareness-based activities. Through her efforts, Amanda has been able to build bridges between educators, families, the YMCA and the Chilliwack community. Her contribution is really about community building.

Get in touch!

Elm Drive YMCA Child Care Centre
8855b Elm Drive
Chilliwack, BC V2P 4Y8
604-792-7823
elmdrive@gv.ymca.ca

Amabel de Lara: A career of enriching children's lives

Amabel de Lara: A career of enriching children's lives

Year: 2022 — Province: British Columbia
Certificate of Achievement Recipient

Amabel de Lara

Selkirk Montessori School
Child Care Centre
2-6 years
Victoria, British Columbia

"In fact, she inspired me to be a Montessori teacher when I was in her kindergarten class many years ago! She has helped shape me into the capable, patient, enthusiastic teacher that I am today. The amount of effort she put into training, modeling, and caring for me is the greatest gift I could have received, and I hope I can be an 'Amabel' to someone else one day."

Colleague

Amabel adheres to the idea that student learning is only part of the teaching activity. Just like the students, teachers must also be on a life-long trajectory of learning. The business of pedagogy continues to evolve. Amabel enjoys learning new ways to further enrich the experience of her students, as well as their parents, and the community.

Philosophy of care

Amabel teaches at a Montessori child care centre. This pedagogical method is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play. In Amabel's classroom children make creative choices in their learning. They work in groups and individually to discover and explore knowledge of the world and to develop their potential. Amabel provides a safe, engaging and nurturing environment for the child. She imparts a sense of trust in themselves and their world, and develop confidence in their emerging abilities.

Support of child development and involvement with parents, families and the community

Amabel provides many opportunities for children to express themselves emotionally in her classroom. She is consistently calm and approachable, and the children are drawn to her peaceful nature. Amabel often uses scripts prompted by our Second Step program to have the children act out different scenes in front of peers. This systematically provides them with opportunities to develop and enhance their social skills, and guidance on how to communicate appropriately and effectively.

Her experience in observing the developmental trajectory of children, coupled with scrupulous attention to fine detail in monitoring the progress of her student's academic skills, makes the process of assessment look easy. Amabel is very tuned in to who is excelling, who needs more of a challenge, and who will need some extra support before moving up a grade level. She maintains ongoing communications with parents and is able to convey concerns clearly, while offering suggestions and being open to ideas.

Amabel's leadership qualities are extraordinary. Over her career, she has maintained an unwavering commitment to inclusion and fairness. Her principles are based on diversity, unity, and acceptance of all. She provides each of her students with optimal learning, and the personal skills that will make them successful. Her achievement is bringing hundreds of children to become the best people they can be.

Get in touch!

Selkirk Montessori School
2970 Jutland Road
Victoria, BC V8T 5K2
250-384-3414
reception@selkirkmontessori.ca
Twitter: @SelkirkMont

Patricia McDougall: Inclusion and optimized learning for each child

Patricia McDougall: Inclusion and optimized learning for each child

Year: 2022 — Province: British Columbia
Certificate of Achievement Recipient

Patricia McDougall

Miss Patti's Preschool
Preschool
3- 5 years
Dawson Creek, British Columbia

"Miss Patti's Preschool offers praiseworthy programming to support the success and skill development of the little ones attending. Her service is highly regarded in our community and she is known for "going the extra mile" to make sure children are well prepared to succeed once they reach the kindergarten door."

Project Manager

Patricia's work at a StrongStart center (a Canadian charity that helps children learn to read), ignited her passion for young children. She wanted her own learning centre so she bought a house in a residential neighbourhood, renovated it and established Miss Patti's Preschool in 2014. On an average she registers 70 families per session, holds two classes per day and employs five educators.

Philosophy of care

Patricia optimizes each of her children's unique development by meeting them where they are and placing the relationship on 'connection before correction' to gain their trust and make them feel safe. She encourages participation by careful observation, knowing the child's interest and uses that interest to promote bonding. With this mindset, she builds confidence and trust, and provides stimulating and engaging learning opportunities.

Support of child development and involvement with parents, families and the community

Patricia uses the Ages and Stages Assessment – a screening process designed to pinpoint developmental progress and catch delays in young children – with each of her registered children in order to refer parents to appropriate resources or to design a program to better meet their needs. Knowing where the child is in their development is the key to meaningful next steps in learning, intervention, or monitoring.

In the classroom Patricia will not shy away from putting the curriculum aside to strengthen the relationship and connection to the children. She says: "Without a feeling of safety they will not listen or learn". She works hard to dispel the myths associated with challenging behaviours, special needs, diagnoses and the children's future in the educational system. This is about inclusion and optimizing learning in each child.

With governments providing new investments into additional ECE student spaces and thousands of new daycare spaces, Patricia is the perfect advocate to help build careers and centers to support parents who are still looking for affordable and quality daycare. On behalf of parents, she applied for the $10/day childcare cost and is adamant about making childcare an 'essential service'. The argument is simple – providing children with the tools to develop socially and intellectually is essential to the future of our society. Patricia is a guiding light to this vitally important matter.

Miss Patti's preschool has been nominated for the by the People's Choice Award three times: The Best preschool 2018, 2019, 2021 and best preschool teacher. This is no accident. Her work and impact extend way beyond the classroom. She is involved with several organisations that promote ECE and enrich the education of young minds. She creates engagement and mobilisation, and ultimately drives cultural change around the necessity of greater attention to children's development.

Get in touch!

Miss Patti's Preschool
1132-96A Avenue
Dawson Creek, BC V1G 1M8
250-219-1078
bandpinatlin@yahoo.ca
Facebook: @Miss-Pattis-Preschool

Patti Pernitsky: Dedication to the success of each child

Patti Pernitsky: Dedication to the success of each child

Year: 2022 — Province: British Columbia
Certificate of Achievement Recipient

Patti Pernitsky

Kamloops United Church Preschool
Preschool and Child Care
30 months to 12 years
Kamloops, British Columbia

"Ms. Pernitski supports child development in the most proven and steadfast ways with consistent care and kindness to her young learners. The genuine sense of community that she cultivates among children as well as their caregivers is rare and admirable. Her dedication and inclusion of all young children should be celebrated."

Parent

Patti has been an early childhood educator for 48 years. Her story is one of continuous innovation, dedication and resolute commitment to positive learning outcomes for children with the full range of abilities, challenges and background. Literally thousands of kids have benefitted from Patti`s pedagogical experience. Her wisdom in understanding children is only equalled by her compassion – the two key elements to bringing a child to reach their full potential.

Philosophy of care

Patti's approach to early childhood education is simple: "Come as you are." This reflects her firm belief in inclusion and acceptance of all the young learners in her care. Her method is based on bridging and attachment. Individual time spent with each child is fundamental in creating a bond that builds confidence and motivation to learn and achieve success. And this is also how she provides a strong bridge for the children when they step outside the boundaries and expectations of the classroom.

Support of child development and involvement with parents, families and the community

Patti's classroom is designed to make children feel secure in their learning environment and at ease to develop at their own pace. In this spirit, she offers a bridge from the family setting to the classroom. For instance, she accepts transitional objects such as stuffed animals or favorite toys the provide connections between their home and the classroom.

Patti has practiced and promoted inclusion long before it became a mainstream idea. From the outset of her career, she has been successful in welcoming and integrating children with exceptionalities. This key element of her teaching is a testament to her compassionate personality and her resolve to create a learning environment that supports the optimal development for each child.

Patti has been successful in transferring her commitment and years of experience to the university level curriculum. As a collaborator with the Human Early Learning Partnership at the University of British Columbia, she has been contributing insight and observations on the needs of children as they prepare to enter kindergarten. The socio-economic circumstances of children are among the prime determinants of learning outcomes. By sharing her knowledge and experience her influence ripples through her community and her profession.

Parent participation has always been a central part of Patti's teaching practice. The intention is to bridge home life with school life. She encourages parents to be part of the classroom experience as often as they please – a bridge for those parents and children who may not feel comfortable with separation from the outset. This ability and will to connect with parents bolster spirits, builds community and brings support during more challenging times.

Get in touch!

Kamloops United Church Preschool
421 St Paul Street
Kamloops, BC V2C 2J7
250-372-1043
preschool@kamloopsunited.ca

Sarah Kirby: Leadership in inclusive learning

Sarah Kirby: Leadership in inclusive learning

Year: 2022 — Province: Newfoundland and Labrador
Certificate of Achievement Recipient

Sarah Kirby

Wildflowers Child Care Centre
Child Care Centre
3 to 5 years
Gander, Newfoundland

"Throughout her career, Sarah has worked in various child care settings. She has fostered the inclusion and skills development of all children, including those with exceptionalities, in group child care. Sarah creates a high-quality child care environment, as she now owns and operates her very own licensed family child care program where she continues to share her passion for inclusion, outdoor play, cultural diversity, community involvement and global citizenship".

Colleague

Sarah owns a government regulated family child care centre in Gander. Guided by the principals of emergent curriculum and of leaving no one behind, she applies her knowledge of child development to provide a child-centred program that is curated to foster the unique needs and strengths of each individual child in her care.

Philosophy of care

Diversity, inclusion, nurturing, community, nature, and creativity – those are the principles that guide Sarah's actions as an ECE educator. While her program supports cognitive, physical, language, emotional, and social development she is truly passionate about supporting children in the development of their overall wellness, and self-esteem.

Support of child development and involvement with parents, families and the community

The Wildflowers Child Care Centre setting has become known for the role the children play in the path of their own learning. This is only possible because Sarah is so acutely aware of their interests, strengths and needs and works diligently to offer curriculum around them, modifying as they lead the way. By trusting the children, and truly listening to them she helps them to feel valued and important.

The Centre is designed for child development. In the classroom, bringing children to the next level is not achieved by simply helping each child reach their next milestone but by allowing them to feel supported, seen and important. In this context, Sarah allows them to help prepare and serve their own food, gain independence by fostering self-help skills, plant and care for their own gardens, and engage in a wide range of activities. These children know how important and loved they are when they go to their child care centre each day, because every day is curated especially for them.

Sarah's leadership in the field of ECE goes beyond her success with children. Notably, she has taken it upon herself to learn how to best help children understand and be accepting of other cultures, races, and family structures, through representation of other realities in her class. For National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, Sarah found developmentally appropriate ways to have hard conversations with the children in her class about what was, and what should no longer be. They were provided with hands on experiences with Indigenous instruments, literacy, games, food, music, clothing, dolls and even a teepee provided by a local Indigenous group. Sarah's commitment to making diversity one the keystones of her program has another key outcome. Her work is leading to educating not only the children, but also the parents. Her impact is on the entire community.

Get in touch!

Wildflowers Child Care Centre
family child care
32 Airport Boulevard
Gander, NL A1V 2W5
709-699-5057
Facebook: @wildflowerschildcarecentre

Tracey Schreiber: Dedication to the success of each child

Tracey Schreiber: Dedication to the success of each child

Year: 2022 — Province: Ontario
Certificate of Achievement Recipient

Tracey Schreiber

Our Lady of Wisdom Catholic School
Designated early childhood educator in a Kindergarten classroom
3- 6 years
Orleans, Ontario

"Tracey is a unique educator who sees her students through a different lens. She pays special attention to every student and is able to quickly identify their needs. She has a large toolkit to connect with each child in her care to help them succeed as young learners in all areas of the curriculum."

Colleague

Tracey brings joy to the classroom every day. Her 20+ years of experience in early childhood education have brought her to approach each day with a calm attitude that is transmitted to her students. Kindergarten can be a very hectic and even chaotic environment. Tracey has the unique ability to balance the academic and the emotional well-being of her students. Reaching children of that age is one of the keys to bringing them to be successful learners. She has mastered that art.

Philosophy of care

Tracey's approach is about providing appropriate learning experiences. Each child is at a particular point in their development, and already has preferences and interests. Her classroom activities have many entry points taking into account the development of the child, their preferences, but also the challenges they may experience as individual learners. She makes every effort to give her students the activities and opportunities that they can relate to.

Support of child development and involvement with parents, families and the community

Tracey is all about engagement. She has genuine regard for the interest of each child. She talks with them about the things that they know and understand, such as toy trends and current movies. She uses their interests to stimulate motivation in classroom activities. She stays away from themes in teaching and provides an open-ended invitation to play based on the interests of her students. Student-led activities provide the opportunity to be creative, make greater use of fine motor skills and let the children have fun while learning.

Journaling is an important part of Tracey's pedagogical method. Students are invited to draw pictures. She then follows them as they write titles and description of their drawing. This cooperation helps her develop warm individual relationships with the children in her class. The process of imparting skills and knowledge starts with communications. She uses this approach to connect with her students.

One of the keys to success in early childhood education is to understand and track the progress of individual students. Tracey provides valuable data at reporting times as well as during interactions with parents. She continuously monitors students in her classroom with the intention of always seeing where the child is in their development, and identifying any possible challenges. This is what allows Tracey to use developmentally appropriate practices. The outcome is that the child is much more receptive and motivated, responding to educational tools they identify with. She shares fresh ideas on assessment with her colleagues as well as with parents. At the end, it's the children who benefit.

Get in touch!

Our Lady of Wisdom Catholic School
1565 St. Georges St
Orleans, ON K1E 1R2
613-824-9700
ourlady.wisdom@ocsb.ca
Twitter: @OLWisdomOCSB

Catherine Anderson: Kindness in learning

Catherine Anderson: Kindness in learning

Year: 2022 — Province: Québec
Certificate of Achievement Recipient

Catherine Anderson

Garderie de l`Académie Solomon Schechter
Daycare
4 years
Montréal, Québec

"Catherine takes great pride in getting to know each child and creates a learning plan that is made especially for them, and never expects a child to fit in a box. She takes the time to meet their social, academic and behavioural needs. Catherine makes sure that every child feels special, acknowledge and encouraged their primary years they can thrive not only as students, but also as members of society."

Parent

Catherine has a very strong value system that she imparts to her students in many ways. She places a lot of importance on kindness, empathy and peace. She helps her students learn how to be kind to each other, kind to the environment and kind to those less fortunate. There is always a thread of kindness being taught and encouraged. This is the backdrop of her teaching practice.

Philosophy of care

Catherine believes that the learning space needs to be a warm and loving environment that reflects her students. She teaches using a theme-based approach and integrates the skills being taught into each theme. Each time a new theme is introduced or being worked on Catherine and her students transform their environment to reflect and celebrate the topic at hand.

Support of child development and involvement with parents, families and the community

The Reggio Emilia philosophy plays a big part in Catherine's classroom. Wonder and excitement in imaginative play is very important to her. She is guided by the idea of the classroom as the third teacher, she always tries to create a space that welcomes children to play and where activities are child directed. A big part of the day's activities is based on the safety of a trusting relationship between a teacher and a child who knows she truly understands and believes in him. This is the developmental space that she creates for each child.

Catherine acknowledges different types of learners and how each child has their own specific needs to meet success. Catherine welcomes these differences and provides the space for each child meet their full potential – from flexible seating to accommodations for attention or behavioural issues, Catherine's classroom is simply conducive to learning.

Beyond the school and classroom, Catherine introduces the children to the needs in the community and to what it means to be a citizen. For instance, she helps them understand what Remembrance Day is and what our soldiers do for our country. The children have helped Catherine write letters to soldiers with objective of helping to lift their spirits. During Orange Shirt Day, Catherine invited an Indigenous community member to teach the children the meaning of the day and teach them some songs and dances. Each year, there is a toy drive where Catherine makes sure the children understand why giving toys to the children in the hospital is so important and how they make them feel better. Catherine is truly a person focussed on inclusion and successful learning.

Get in touch!

Garderie de L'Academie Solomon Schechter
4940 Macdonald Avenue
Montreal, QC H3X 2C3
514-486-0866
learn@ssamontreal.org
Twitter:@ssamontreal
Instagram:@ ssamontreal

Jennifer Mason: The best start for every child

Jennifer Mason: The best start for every child

Year: 2022 — Province: Saskatchewan
Certificate of Achievement Recipient

Jennifer Mason

Lord Asquith School
Pre-Kindergarten
3 to 4 years
Asquith, Saskatchewan

"Jennifer not only guides her students but also other teachers in the division. (…) She treats every child with compassion and kindness, and her passion comes from a place of love for the education of these little minds. She does everything to provide these children with the best start as they move through their learning journey."

Parent

Many people in the field of education say that it takes a village to raise a child. Jennifer lives this philosophy every day. She understands that for children to be healthy learners, teachers and schools must also be responsive to the needs of the families and the community. Early childhood education is everybody's business.

Philosophy of care

Jennifer is known in Saskatchewan as an innovator and leader in exploratory play-based education for early learners. Her approach honors the experience and natural curiosity of children and focuses their interests and passions on learning. Rather than the traditional deficit model of education where teachers see students as empty vessels waiting to be filled, she views her students as already competent learners. Her students construct their knowledge based on the connection with their already acquired knowledge and skills. This brings them to establish a learning identity where they view themselves as active learners engaged in understanding their world.

Support of child development and involvement with parents, families and the community

As a pre-kindergarten educator Jennifer employs a play-based method to learning. The intention is to foster the children's natural sense of curiosity. She facilitates student growth and development through the creation of engaging and meaningful opportunities for students to explore and build language and social skills through play. She guides and facilitates learning through questioning, conversation and storytelling.

Jennifer is a master at creating a warm and inviting learning atmosphere where students feel valued and supported in pursuing their interests and developing their individual talents and identities. She is a keen observer of the children's strengths and passions. Her learning space is designed so she can provide attention to the individual preferences and needs. The pre-kindergarten program at Asquith supports the community's most vulnerable children. Jennifer's classroom is built to help surmount the range of socio-economic and developmental barriers to learning.

Developing a culturally inclusive learning environment is an important aspect of Jennifer's pedagogy. A strong advocate for advancing Reconciliation she integrates Indigenous culture and ways of knowing into her classroom through literature, oral storytelling, initiation to Indigenous traditions and outdoor learning. Jennifer's classroom is a place where cultural obstacles do not exist.

Jennifer's innovative approach to early childhood education has made her a reference in the school division and the province. She has taken on the role of supporting other teachers. In this regard she leads early learning professional development for the division. She is also invited as a presenter, facilitator and guest lecturer at the College of Education at the University of Saskatchewan. She is bringing significant benefits not only to individuals, but to the entire community.

Get in touch!

Lord Asquith School
Box 40, 305 Eagle Avenue
Asquith, SK S0K 0J0
306-392-4331
las@spiritsd.ca