Year: 2010–2011 — Province: British Columbia
Certificate of Excellence Recipient
Comox Valley Aboriginal Head Start
956 Grieve Avenue
Courtenay, BC V9N 2T9
Type of Setting: Aboriginal Head Start for children up to the age of 6
Parents have instincts and Teresia Louden guides them in how to use them. With the contagious energy of her inner child, this special educator sees every parent as the child's first teacher and honours both adult and child for their abilities. As the coordinator for the Friday's Child: A Strengths Based FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) Program, Mrs. Louden cherishes her time with the children, and shares in the joy when they succeed. And she provides parents with tools to further success.
Philosophy of Care
Her personal philosophy is of a child's need to play and develop their own skills through play, using traditional and natural products, respecting old ways and moving children forward one skill at a time.
Support of Child Development
- Mrs. Louden invites families to share traditional or family foods, stories, dance or history. Each child and family's language is also valued and encouraged.
- Mrs. Louden organizes field trips to community events like Kidsfest and International FASD Day. Children also visit Chinese lantern displays and the local fish hatchery for salmon spawning. Community members are also often invited into the classroom to tell stories, demonstrate beading, hunting techniques and animal teachings.
- Well known in the community Mrs. Louden has a network of contacts in the community that she leads in working together to provide structured support for any given child.
Involvement with Parents, Families and the Community
- Mrs. Louden established the Aboriginal Head Start program and eventually the Friday's Child Program. Although she works with children throughout the day, her role is largely dedicated to the parents as well – who often regard her as their mentor when they run into hurdles at home. Parents are welcome to call her at any time.
- Mrs. Louden authored a Little Book of Tips – and companion DVD – full of techniques for early childhood educators and family members that are particularly effective with children living with FASD.
"Terry will make time for families when they are in crisis or celebrate family successes. Without Terry in our lives, I would not have acquired the skills and knowledge to keep my children."
"Teresia's commitment, dedication and leadership in t he early childhood field are nothing short of profound. (…) Parents of young toddlers, myself included, felt very fortunate to have our children be a part of Teresia's special and caring environment."
ECCE Faculty and Department Chair