Archived — Justin West
Year: 2013 — Province: Nova Scotia
Certificate of Excellence Recipient
Peter Green Hall Children's Centre
1094 Wellington Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 2Z9
Type of setting: Licensed full time childcare centre for 3.5 to 5 years
The sky's the limit when it comes to Justin West's classroom. Whether it comes from drawing self-portraits and organizing an exhibition of their work, being an elevator man, or making a scary movie, West's students explore their interests with curious enthusiasm.
Philosophy of care
West encourages a natural curiosity in an approach that focuses on supporting children's interests—especially through art. He holds mature conversations with his students and his classroom quickly becomes an incubator for confident children who expect to be heard and respected.
Support of child development
- West created and developed a partnership with the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD). Through this partnership, the college became a resource centre for his students. The children in his care were encouraged to explore the properties of different art mediums, and engaged the college art students in a dialogue about their art work.
- Working closely with his students, West developed a business plan for a community-based recycling centre, which introduced them to re-using materials and turning them into innovative creations that they could sell.
Involvement with parents, families and the community
- For the centre's 45th anniversary celebration, West created an exhibit called The Seeds of Learning, to honour both the children, and their families. The exhibit showcased children's work over the past 20 years and also engaged current students and teachers, who designed the interactive displays. The exhibit was unveiled at a gala event and was attended by over 400 guests.
- West spearheaded the creation of the Emergent Curriculum Study Group that meets on a monthly basis and encourages educators to share their experiences, children's work and their own uncertainties.
- West is also a founding member of the Emergent Curriculum Professional Community group, which facilitates monthly gatherings of four local childcare centres.
I feel very lucky to have had a teacher like Justin in my son's life. He understands children and sees them for the person they are and will become. To have a teacher see your son the way you do and value all of the wonderful, unique and special things about them means everything to a parent, as well as a child.
Justin has a natural teaching ability; he is passionate about the children in his care and strives to provide authentic meaningful relationships with those children. Justin has a gift for recognizing the uniqueness and individuality of each child and is mindful of this when providing experiences in the learning environment.
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