Archived — Shawna Miller-Poitras
Year: 2013 — Province: British Columbia
Certificate of Excellence Recipient
North Okanagan Child Care Society
2711 38th Street
Vernon, British Columbia V1T 6H5
Type of setting: Child Care Centre, program for children ages 4 years
Shawna Miller-Poitras' classroom is truly the foundation of a world where students learn to be responsible citizens and how to actively contribute to the community. Miller-Poitras' students are connected to a world that extends far beyond the classroom; they are eco-explorers in the community garden, sharing experiences with a local seniors home; presenters of the Vernon Children's Charter of Rights to the Mayor; performers at local festivals; and partners with elementary and high school students.
Philosophy of care
Miller-Poitras believes that children are individuals in their own right; capable of exploring and better understanding the world through the relationships they create. She regularly partners with community groups to encourage responsibility, and organizes field trips relevant to her curriculum.
Support of child development
- Taking cues from her children, Miller-Poitras leads lunch time discussions that focus on discovering and sharing concepts of cultural identity.
- At the end of each year, Miller-Poitras creates monthly newsletters, documentations and learning stories, and memory books for children.
- Miller-Poitras' class has been involved in several projects that develop awareness of the natural world. For example, her class regularly visits the community garden and local farmers' market to create an understanding of food and its origin.
Involvement with parents, families and the community
- In order for children to gain appreciation for the natural world, Miller-Poitras regularly schedules field-trips to local parks and natural areas surrounding Vernon. She also partners with community groups on recycling workshops, BC Hydro presentations, healthy eating tours and tree planting activities.
- In 2011, Miller-Poitras participated in the Leadership Initiative Project of ECEBC that, together with the community, created a Children's Charter of Rights for the City of Vernon. The signing ceremony at a local park in May was well attended by families. The document was signed by the Mayor, School Superintendent, Chief of the Okanagan Indian Band, as well as representatives from the ECEBC, RCMP, Chamber of Commerce, Community Policing, Early Years Coalition, Interior Health and the local Member of Parliament. For National Child Day on November 20, 2012, students presented the Mayor with an engraved copy of the Charter, which currently hangs in Vernon City Hall.
- Miller-Poitras teaches her students firsthand the value of responsibility and organizes fundraising activities for many local charities.
Shawna has been inspirational in her involvement with the Vernon community. She takes on projects that are leading the way to immersing our children within the community in which they belong. Intergenerational relationships continue to blossom with the regular visits to senior homes.
Executive Director, North Okanagan Child Care Society
Shawna creates a classroom culture of sharing and caring, which allows for the children to learn about the interconnectedness of life. As they discover things about themselves each other and the world around them, they learn that they have reciprocal rights and responsiblities as citizens of our society.
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