The College’s Early Childhood Education Awards has become an event looked forward to by the community for the past three years.
Last night, the 3rd Annual awards took place at GPRC where guests celebrated and recognized the outstanding contributions, positive impacts, commitment and dedication that educators working in childcare programs and facilities have on the community.
“Recognizing the dedicated work of early childhood educators and programs is something our department looks forward to every year,” said Theresa Suderman, GPRC Chair, Early Learning and Child Care. “I personally think these awards could be renamed ‘Celebrating our Superheros’. Raising awareness for the remarkable work being done in child care every day is wonderful to be a part of.”
This year 45 early childhood educators were nominated by members of the community for the five awards presented last night with the top three for each category announced at the ceremony.
“I’m thrilled at the overwhelming response we have had from the northwest region. Many see the work our educators do as just ‘babysitting’ but those who work in this field are trained professionals who care for our most valuable resource at their most vulnerable stage, our children. They definitely deserve this recognition,” added Suderman.
Of the three nominees for the Family Day Home Provider of the Year, the winner was Katarzyna Hoffman from Stepping Stones Day Home Program.
According to the nomination, Katarzyna is “incredibly kind, compassionate and caring. Her and the children are always doing something fun and creative. She prepares them yummy, nutritious snacks and meals. Overall she’s just a very sweet woman whose love for teaching and caring for children is so evident. I feel very grateful having her a sour childcare provider, it makes leaving my children to go to work so much easier and stress free knowing they love being there with her. I drop them off and have no hesitation or worries leaving them, I know she cares for them with so much love. I can’t think of a more deserving lady for this award.”
Of the three nominees for the Preschool Educator of the Year, the winner was Melissa Gast from the Grande Prairie Catholic School Division.
Melissa’s nomination stated, “She is a dedicated, innovative, kind, thoughtful, purposeful, driven and helpful educator. She is the best of the best. Her program shows versatility, planning, routine, structure, multi-sensory approach and most of all FUN!
She is always prepared for each day with a smile on her face. She knows how important her presence is to the children and has hardly missed a moment with them. She also is so well spoken and can make a parent feel at ease when leaving their child in someone else’s hands for the first time.
She puts her heart and soul into her work. She is dependable, kind and amazing at what she does. She is truly a shining example of what every preschool program should be.”
Of the three nominees for the Early Childhood Director of the Year, the winner was Venessa Soto from Valleyview Knowledge Tree.
The nomination for Venessa, stated that “She has worked very hard to create a program which reflects a child-centered philosophy. She is passionate about her work and is a firm believer in the importance of quality early childhood development and how that can make a difference in a child’s life. She has worked tirelessly and has put her entire heart into making the program amazing.”
Of the three nominees for the Early Childhood Educator of the Year, the winner was Janelle Cunningham from Stepping Stones Daycare.
Janelle was portrayed by the nomination as someone who takes a “holistic approach with the children; her interactions are genuine and heartfelt. She models regulation for the children and is always by their side helping them through their emotions…letting the children know, it’s okay not to be okay.
She closely observes the children to ensure she is providing well planned experiences that reflect their interests and needs often incorporating nature and environmentally responsible practices. When she plans experiences she gets very passionate and excited putting her ideas into motion. Providing a quality program is important for her, she always maintains professionalism.”
Of the nominees for the Early Childhood Service of the Year, the winner was Lil Sprouts Preschool.
The nominations for Lil Sprouts Preschool stated that “This program is amazing! My child learns so many wonderful things here. It warms my heart to know he is safe, happy and most of all comfortable.
It is a happy place for children to learn and grow.
This program has taught my child to share, listen and demonstrate kindness to others.
I am so comfortable leaving my child here knowing that they are in a fun, stimulating, learning environment.”
Congratulations Lil Sprouts Preschool.
Winners last night received a plaque and rose as a token of appreciation for their excellence.
Thank you to all our nominees for their commitment and dedication to the early childhood education profession.
More information about GPRC Early Learning and Child Care programs can be found here.
Check out more photos from last night’s event here.