Caren Eigenmann - Child Garden Preschool
Year: 2017 – Province: British Columbia
Certificate of Excellence Recipient
Child Garden Preschool
2625 B Clarke Street
Port Moody, British Columbia V3H 1Z4
Type of setting: Preschool, children aged 30 months to 5 years
Caren Eigenmann infuses her classroom with lessons about social justice. When she started a garden to contribute to a local food bank, it taught children about those less fortunate and inspired a wonder of nature and a curiosity about differences between people and cultures.
Philosophy of care
Eigenmann is so wildly creative that all learning feels like play. Her curriculum emerges from what her students are curious about, and she uses their interests to create special activities and to build playscapes for exploration. Eigenman's students know that their ideas are important.
Support of child development
- Regularly encourages empathy through art, play and books. Eigenmann created an "Agreement of Belonging" with her students and families asking them to create art to represent their ideas.
- Embracing every opportunity to encourage curiosity and wonder, and to teach her students to find answers to their questions, Eigenmann works with students to research the answer online or in books.
Involvement with parents, families and the community
- When her students were concerned about litter in the park, Eigenmann encouraged them to make a no littering sign and helped them write letters to the mayor.
- Hosted a silent auction with her students to raise funds for a service dog for one of their peers. Through this her students learned about Autism, service animals and empathy toward others.
- Students participated in the local Adopt-a-Senior program, sponsored a child in Cambodia, joined in a city clean-up initiative and built a free "little library".
"Due to Caren's commitment to following the students as much as leading, the children have learned that their concerns are important. (…) Caren taught preschoolers that their worries could be translated into action, and that they can directly improve their community."
"Caren's keen interest in social justice in early childhood education is innovative, infectious and inspires her fellow educators to learn more about helping children advocate for themselves through emotional literacy and to explore new creative tools."
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