Archived — Exemplary Practices 2012
Most parents will agree that it is rare to find those special individuals who not only care for children, but are able to provide them with daily educational activities that get them ready for school, teach empathy and introduce them to their community.
For ten years, innovative and inspiring early childhood educators across the country have been honoured with the Prime Minister's Awards for Excellence in Early Childhood Education. The awards recognize the efforts of outstanding educators with a unique ability to create warm environments that children need to make the best possible start in life and where parents gain useful tools for years to come. Early childhood educators may receive one of two awards: the Certificate of Excellence and the Certificate of Achievement. Each recipient's biography highlights the innovative practices of some of Canada's most inspirational early childhood educators.
From all corners of Canada and from a variety of childcare settings, ten Certificate of Excellence recipients traveled to Ottawa in early October 2012 to receive their award from Prime Minister Stephen Harper and take part in a week of activities in honour of World Teachers' Day. It was a whirlwind tour that provided the diverse group with a true Ottawa experience. They visited the Ottawa Inuit Children's Centre, attended Question Period in the House of Commons and were granted an exclusive tour of the Library of Parliament with the Head Librarian.
At a reception hosted by the Honourable Andrew Scheer, Speaker of the House of Commons, the educators had the opportunity to meet and chat with Members of Parliament. Mrs. Laureen Harper also graciously hosted a reception for the group at 24 Sussex Drive. During their stay in Ottawa, the recipients also visited Rideau Hall where they met the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada and participated in a discussion with this fellow accomplished teacher and lifetime advocate for education.
The week culminated in a "Teacher's Talk" event hosted by Catherine Clark, from CPAC's Beyond Politics. Katherine Berg, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO gave an address recognizing that nothing can replace a good teacher. And, former Canadian Astronaut Dr. Robert Thirsk gave a heartfelt presentation that praised the critical role teachers play in the choices students make and offered insight into the contribution of teachers to his own career.
The excitement in the room grew when the educators took over the stage in three themed panel discussions entitled "Teaching empathy to young children," "It takes a community to raise a child" and "Early childhood education for the future." They shared their philosophies, tricks of the trade and unique experiences in sessions that underlined their common passion for working with children and their parents.
It quickly became very clear that whatever the context, the key to success for these early childhood educators was their incredible ability to adapt to situations and to wear many different hats. From a green building designer to a puppeteer, or from a small home setting to a larger community centre, this was a quirky group of leaders who seemed to magically spin imagination into reality, as they teach young children the basics of empathy and link their classrooms to the community.
The Prime Minister's Awards for Excellence in Early Childhood Education were launched in 2002 — for information about the program as well as partners and past recipients, go to www.pma.gc.ca.
Children are competent and capable. Believe in them, and they will believe in themselves!
Strong self-esteem is at the foundation for personal and educational success. How children feel about themselves can have a major influence on their desire and ability to learn.
A vision for innovation in early learning and care practice and environments
"Education is constructed together by children and adults in a rich daily life.
" – Wonder of Learning Exhibit from the schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy.
Creating inspired learning environments
The environment is key in the learning process. When classrooms are cozy and designed to nurture curiosity, "change as the only constant" feels natural and safe.
Creating a culture of belonging with a Parent Advisory Committee: "Do we have to?"
I'll confess that those were the first words out of my mouth when I found out we were required by our Provincial Government to create a Parent Advisory Committee. I remember thinking: "Nobody will want to be involved," or worse, "What if they want to be too involved?" (Continue reading...)
Danielle Denise Jimeno
The image of child – challenging universal ways of thinking
In 2007, I began a journey with the Investigating Quality Project (IQ Project) at the University of Victoria. It has been an investigative journey that goes beyond the common Euro-Western discourses and allows me to examine the language I use for children, and the images that come to mind when thinking about children. It is a journey that has changed the way I think and the way I work. (Continue reading...)
Pedagogical leadership in early learning and community development
Think outside the box. Each and every day, early years professionals are in a unique position to use our acquired knowledge and skills to provide leadership to our community. Committed to lifelong learning and a desire to inspire early childhood educators, Algonquin College Early Learning Centre in Ottawa, Ontario seeks to share, demonstrate and promote best practices in early childhood education. (Continue reading...)
Children at the heart of it all
When you walk into the McGill Childcare Centre, the first thing you see is a community quilt hanging in the main entrance depicting what our families value most. At the centre of the quilt is the quote, "children, at the heart of it all." This is a project that was created by the educators, in collaboration with parents and represents the essence of who we are: the centre as an extension of the family. (Continue reading...)
Teaching young children emotional regulation
I have collection of five puppets who play with my students: Grandma and Grandpa Noodle and their three grandchildren Johnny, Julie and Jeanie. I use these puppets to create different scenarios that help the children name their feelings and emotions, and we discuss how to solve the various situations that arise between the grandparents and their grandchildren. (Continue reading...)
Bringing children back to earth!
Growing up in Southwestern Ontario I spent many summer days observing farmers in fields, parents in gardens, and the Amish going about their day-to-day lives. From this I learned that a community should work in harmony with the land, giving back, as much as it receives. Much of this experience came full circle, when in 2008 I was invited to design a new learning environment for the opening of the early childhood development centre in Drayton Valley. (Continue reading...)
Observing and responding with a caring heart
Watching a couple of children pretending to be astronauts one day inspired us to transform the classroom into a space ship using old keyboards and bubble wrap. The children became very creative – they made space suits, helmets and even walkie-talkies. The space project concluded with a trip to the space centre, families brought in newspaper articles about space and we had over six months of curriculum. (Continue reading...)
- Centre on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) learning modules (Second Step and Tucker Turtle)
- Investigating Quality (IQ) Project (University of Victoria)
- Moe the Mouse
- Reggio Emilia Approach Educational Philosophy
- Safe Spaces Bully Prevention Program
- Seeds of Empathy
- Waldorf Education
Launched in 2003, the Prime Minister's Awards (PMA) for Excellence in Early Childhood Education have been honouring outstanding early childhood educators for almost 10 years. The PMA is administered by Industry Canada on behalf of the Prime Minister and in partnership with Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, Health Canada, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Early childhood educators are recognized for their leadership, exemplary education practices, and their success in fostering the early development and socialization of the children in their care and in helping build the foundation children need to meet life's challenges. Designated awards are provided for outstanding Aboriginal early childhood educators.
For 2011-2012, 25 awards were available: 10 national and 15 regional. Certificates of Excellence (national) are worth $5,000 and cash awards are shared between the educator and their childcare setting. Certificates of Achievement (regional) are worth $1,000 and go directly to the recipient. Certificate of Excellence recipients travel to Ottawa where they participate in best practice sessions and receive their certificates at an awards ceremony with the Prime Minister or his designate. Certificate of Achievement recipients are honoured at childcare centre or community events involving local Members of Parliament. All recipients receive a PMA pin and certificate signed by the Prime Minister. In addition, each recipient's childcare centre or setting receives a certificate recognizing its support of educational excellence and its contribution to the recipient's achievement.
Considered Canada's top honour for early childhood educators, the PMA is not an easy award to win. The selection process is rigorous with each nomination package reviewed by up to five members of the program's selection committee comprised of early childhood education and care experts from across Canada. Committee members look for evidence that educators are innovative and have achieved outstanding results in supporting child development, involving parents, families and the community and are committed leaders in their field. For more information, please contact the program office.
Sharing and promoting the exemplary practices of PMA recipients is a major focus of this program. We are committed to sharing the innovative ideas and early childhood education and care practices of our award winners with other educators across Canada. We welcome your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to receive regular updates on the PMA program, please sign up for our email distribution list or contact the program office.
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