Archived — Melanie Castro Shibaoka, Rachel Rosen

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Year: 2009 – Province: British Columbia

Certificate of Excellence Recipient

Rachel Rosen, Melanie Castro Shibaoka

Brentwood Nursery School
1455A Delta Avenue
Burnaby BC V5B 3G4

Telephone: 604-291-7203

Type of setting: Preschool for children ages 3 to 5

Melanie and Rachel graduated from the early childhood education program at Capilano University in North Vancouver. As students, Melanie spent six months at early childhood education settings in Beijing, and Rachel received a prestigious university award. They both now give back to the university by actively mentoring students (Brentwood is an exemplary practicum placement), and, after receiving her Master of Arts in Early Childhood Studies, Rachel is now on the faculty.

Philosophy of care

Rachel joined the Brentwood Nursery School teaching team in 2002 and Melanie in 2004. The two educators and their colleagues offer experiences that allow children to explore theories they have about things, engage with each other's ideas, and build relationships and a sense of belonging. Melanie and Rachel are not afraid to take on long-term projects in response to questions and ideas from children, teachers and families.

Support of child development

  • Melanie and Rachel carefully plan and provide meaningful experiences to give the children the opportunity to play and learn in a stimulating environment. At the science table, for example, the children experiment, learn how to record their discoveries and compare their results with their peers'. The children work in teams to solve problems, and the educators encourage the children to use all types of materials to achieve their results.
  • The educators break complex ideas down and help the children to closely observe and understand new concepts, and to carry out complex projects. For example, in order to build a bench for their family members to use at the preschool, the children looked at various examples in the community, drew plans for their own, built a prototype out of interlocking wood blocks, shopped for the wood and used the skills they learned at the woodworking table to build the bench.

Involvement with parents, families and the community

  • Parents remark on the depth of Melanie and Rachel's involvement with them. Several times a year, for example, the team facilitates workshops specifically for parents to give them a chance to see and discuss the children's thinking and learning at school.
  • The educators prepare a portfolio on each child that goes home several times a year so the child can share preschool experiences with his or her family. Melanie and Rachel also document group projects to share their observations and collaboratively reflect on the learning process with families.

Rave reviews

"I will always remember my first participation day in Melanie and Rachel's class. … [T]hese women could not possibly be this engaging, respectful, well prepared and professional all the time. … After three years … I found my experience on that first day to be routine." Nominator and parent

"[Rachel and Melanie's] commitment and professional ethics are paramount in their teaching with young children. They encourage each and every child to participate and learn in a multitude of ways. They provide an engaging and challenging learning environment for the children and their families. Their intelligence and curiosity are integral components of the preschool curriculum they provide." Coordinator, Early Childhood Care and Education Program, Capilano University

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