Maria Cortese-2018 Prime Minister's Awards for Excellence in Early Childhood Education

Certificate of Excellence Recipient, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School, Vancouver, British Columbia

Transcription – Maria Cortese-2018 Prime Minister's Awards for Excellence in Early Childhood Education

[Black screen fades up to close-up of woman in interview setting, against a mottled background. Music playing.]

[Caption: Maria Cortese, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School]

[Maria speaking in the interview setting followed by voice over accompanied by still images, as follows: Maria playing with two little boys and their cardboard creations; and Maria pointing out something in a toadstool house to two little girls.]

Maria Cortese: The number one factor that I feel contributes to my students’ learning is relationship-building. I believe, before any curriculum, any class activity that can happen, if you don’t have a relationship with your children, and if your children don’t trust you—and if they don’t feel that your classroom is an extension of their home—you really can’t dig deep into their learning.

[Maria speaking in the interview setting alternates with voice over accompanied by still images, as follows: Maria and a group of children gathered around a round table in the classroom; and Maria squatting down with a group of children outside looking at a flower.]

Maria Cortese: If I could create a perfect space for my children to learn in, it would be an extension of their home, a space that they create themselves. Our classroom is quite bare in September, and the children start to fill our classroom with things from their home. They bring a family photo. They bring a toy from home. They do an activity with their parent. So, I really believe that those environments that the children create are the ones that they can attach to and really embrace learning.

[Maria speaking in the interview setting alternates with voice over accompanied by video of Maria speaking into a microphone behind a podium, addressing fellow recipients and looking at a screen while she speaks, with audience members listening.]

Maria Cortese: Based on my knowledge and experience with technology in the classroom, in an early childhood setting, we really use technology for research. What we do is we use our computer to research questions that they may have, maybe watch a video. It’s really a tool for them to deepen their curiosity. It’s really more a tool for us to communicate with the families and for the children to dive deeper into their own questions that they have.

[Maria speaking in the interview setting alternates with voice over accompanied by still photos, as follows: Maria and her class greeting an elderly man, Farmer Jim, at his door; Maria giving Jim a hug; and Jim showing the children something in his garden. The segment ends with a picture of Maria and a dozen children posed class picture-style in the classroom.]

Maria Cortese: My biggest piece of advice for pre-service educators is to take your classroom into the community. My best practices presentation was about my relationship, and my class’s relationship, with Farmer Jim, a 96-year-old neighbour, who lives two blocks away from our school. So, if you take a class of 30 preschoolers to go by and say ‘hi,’ I think that’s really powerful for children to have authentic relationships with seniors, high school students. It’s a real authentic relationship with someone who has experienced a lot more with them. They share stories like real friends do, and that’s what my children have really developed with Jim.

[Fade to black.]

[Cut to white screen, with the Government of Canada FIP followed by the Canada Wordmark.]

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