Year: 2012 — Province: Ontario
Certificate of Achievement Recipient
Acorn Early Learning Centre
600 Bank Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 3T6
Type of setting: Childcare centre for children ages 18 months to 12 years
Philosophy of Care
Through one project after another, Joanne Saunders teaches her students about the world around them and how to respect it, as well as those who live in it. Innovative and above all compassionate, Saunders finds ways to get her centre involved in local and global activities.
Support of Child Development
- Saunders developed the Music and Movement Program that provides developmentally appropriate programming to enhance each child's musical appreciation, creative movement, memory development and emotional expression. It also provides staff with professional development as they participate.
- When Saunders and her students found a sick turtle in a local pond, they rescued the turtle and handed her over to a turtle care organization. Naming the turtle Ella, they wrote and illustrated a book named Saving Ella the Turtle, which they sold with proceeds going to Ella's rehabilitation. They also learned about leadership as they presented their book at local schools.
- Saunders leads her students in extremely successful – and fun – fundraisers for various charities. They raised over $3,200 for the Red Cross in Haiti and $915 for the Ottawa Mission's Christmas dinners.
Involvement with Parents, Families and the Community
- While Ella the turtle was recovering, Saunders, together with her staff and students, hosted a park party fundraiser that was attended by over 200 people. They organized an art sale, a bake sale and organized games.
- Parents are welcome to participate at any time, come for lunch, or volunteer time. Saunders also organizes picnics, celebrations and concert performances for families to attend.
- Saunders also implemented a Parents Night Out initiative twice a month and extends program hours to allow parents some time to themselves.
Joanne is truly one-of-a-kind – a tireless champion of the children, a sage and insightful educator, and a generous, nurturing leader. She is an agent of positive change, always looking to see what's possible as opposed to what is (…).
Joanne supports and encourages those around her through her quiet strength and ever positive attitude. (…) She has made a life giving to others, and enriching the lives of children and the community that she calls home.