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Year: 2006 – Province: Ontario
Certificate of Achievement Recipient
Setting: Canadian Mothercraft Society
PO Box 510
161 Bay Street
Nominator: Gail Sinclair
Type of setting: Child care centre, children from 3 months to 12 years
Philosophy of Care:
Support healthy child development across all families
Support of Child Development:
- Eleanor was long a bedrock in Mothercraft's infant room, heartily enjoying all aspects of infant development and the challenges it brings. But it was her pioneering work to develop the Magic Castle that makes her a star in the early childhood education realm.
- Starting about 5 years ago, Eleanor, in collaboration with others, was instrumental in setting up the world's first childcare centre based in a cancer-fighting hospital, the purpose of which is to provide care for the young children of parents battling the disease so that they can devote their energies to that battle knowing that their children are wonderfully cared for on site. This name of this childcare centre is the Magic Castle and now is well established at the Princess Margaret Hospital in downtown Toronto.
Involvement with Parents, Families and the Community:
- The knowledge of Eleanor's importance as a childhood educator led to the decision to invite Eleanor to deliver the keynote address at the Canadian Mothercraft's Society's Annual General Meeting in June of last year, along with representatives of Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) and the Canadian Cancer Society. Eleanor accepted that invitation and spoke about the Magic Castle in such a moving way that there was not a dry eye amongst the listeners that evening.
- Eleanor has long embraced lifelong learning as a teacher and as a student, sharing her expertise with others while she pursued further education herself.
"They talk about her at home. They ask their parents when they will be going back to the Magic Castle so that they can see her. They stop by to see here even though they are not registered for the program that day and the first picture with their brand new set of markers is especially for her." - Debbie Nystrom
"Eleanor continues to work along side hospital staff, social workers and community organizations to provide for the child care needs of families struggling with cancer. Due to the nature of this program it is critically important for staff to be ultra sensitive to the needs of these families by supporting them and the children through difficult experiences: illness, cancer treatment, and sometimes the unfortunate loss of a family member." - Manager, BCE Place Mothercraft
"We are certain that Eleanor Szakacs not only made a difference to our child and to us but to hundreds of other parents who were fortunate enough to have had their babies experience the secure hands, loving voice and tender touch of Eleanor in the first year of their lives." - Dolores and James Anderson, Parents
"There are also countless thank you cards from grateful parents who express sincere gratitude for the work Eleanor does with their children, particularly given the difficult situations these families are often in … her bright spirit and warm heart touch not only the children and families but her colleagues as well." - Jenny Marino, Manager, Psychosocial Oncology & Palliative Care, Princess Margaret Hospital
"She is very resourceful and goes above and beyond her job requirements to help the families at the Magic Castle." - Corina John, Mothercraft
"It also made PMH a safe and fun place for my boys, they too were always happy and comfortable and always looked forward to their visits! Thank you so very, very much!" - Tammy MacIsaac-Howath (and Hayden and Hunter)