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- Sherry Lalonde Video Profile
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Year: 2009 – Province: Ontario
Certificate of Excellence Recipient
YWCA of St. Thomas-Elgin
16 Mary Street West
St. Thomas ON N5P 2S3
Type of Setting: Junior and senior kindergarten program for children ages 3 to 5
An early childhood educator for more than a decade, Sherry Lalonde was tasked with transforming a nursery school into a licensed full-day program for children in junior and senior kindergarten. Jumping in with great enthusiasm, she created from the ground up an innovative program that has had a tremendous impact on all the children attending.
Philosophy of Care
Sherry fosters a warm and caring learning environment that encourages children's holistic development through supportive learning and patient listening. She is respectful of children's individual needs and of their varying degrees of tolerance of each other's needs.
Support of Child Development
- Sherry assesses each child's developmental and academic stages at the start of each year, structures activities according to her assessment and records each child's progress throughout the year.
- The programming Sherry has developed encompasses many areas of development, including literacy, numeracy, geography, science, music and physical activity. Her classroom is filled with features that encourage children to develop all five senses: basins filled with macaroni, feathers, water and sand, a computer station with speakers, and musical instruments.
- Sherry responds creatively and sensitively to children's individual needs, such as those of a child whose twin sister had died, a child who was aggressive towards the staff, and a child with severe separation anxiety. In response to feedback from parents and children, she adapted "rest time" to be "quiet time" so children can do quiet activities on their own if they wish rather than having to lie down and rest.
Involvement with Parents, Families and the Community
- Sherry stresses positive communication with parents. She briefs them each day and solicits feedback from them as issues arise and, formally, by sending out a parent feedback form each year. She created the Parent Corner in her classroom, which she maintains with updated community information.
- Responding to feedback from parents, Sherry made special efforts to train a regular roster of supply staff who take over when she is away. These replacements have a chance to participate in the classroom program and model Sherry's routine and approach before supervising the class on their own, ensuring a seamless transition.
- Among the community resources Sherry taps into are parents who are schoolteachers or principals. She discusses programming ideas with them as well as resources for the children as they enter the school system.
"Sherry Lalonde defines excellence not only within the walls of her classroom but with her unique ability to become an integral part of our children's life learning process." Parents
"Sherry is committed to the ongoing growth of the profession and provides leadership coaching and mentoring to other staff… Sherry is able to provide recommendations, best practices and praise to other staff in a caring and supportive manner. Her commitment to life-long learning is like none other." Supervisor