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Celebrating early childhood educators

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Debby Holmes works with children at one of the five locations of Harstone Children’s Centre.

CHRISTINA HIEBERT Enlarge Image

Debby Holmes works with children at one of the five locations of Harstone Children’s Centre. Photo Store

Harstone Children’s Centre is a prominent part of the West End community and has been since 1977. It has expanded to include five child care centres run by early childhood educators.

In Manitoba, the 23rd annual Week of the Early Childhood Educator is April 27 to May 3. Jennifer Hiebert, site director of Harstone’s Principal Sparling location, said the week means that early childhood educators are recognized as professionals and that their core values and beliefs make a fundamental impact in the positive lives of children, families, and communities.

Children grow by leaps and bounds and childcare programs are an essential component to our society. Parents choose and need to work for a variety of reasons. Jennifer says that the week of the early childhood educator is a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge staff for their commitment and for their contributions to the families in their community.

Early childhood education focuses on learning through play. Through play, children develop skills such as problem-solving, communication, cognitive concepts, and gross and fine motor skills.

Debby Holmes, ECE level 2, builds her day with children using what is called an emergent curriculum. Debby explained that early childhood education is moving away from themes and instead encouraging early childhood educators to observe children’s interests during free play and build activities and lessons around those interests.

Children are naturally very curious, strong learners and their ideas are an important base of the curriculum. Educators may have a general topic they feel is necessary to introduce but they encompass flexibility and creativity as topics emerge.

While I was visiting, what began as one child talking about outer space eventually led to a discussion of weather patterns on Earth. The group discussed what happens when the sun melts snow. Children had the opportunity to get their hands dirty making mud puddles while they talked about mud and what happens as snow melts.

It was fascinating to learn the valuable roles of early childhood educators.

Wisdom begins with wonder and children are full of immense wonder about the world around them. Early childhood educators contribute to the foundation of future learning and help turn that wonder into wisdom.

During the week of the Early Childhood Educator, I encourage you to take a moment to thank them and celebrate the work they do.  

Christina Hiebert is a community correspondent for the West End. You can contact her at christina.hiebert@gmail.com

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