Nominate an early childhood educator

The Prime Minister's Awards for Excellence in Early Childhood Education

These awards honor outstanding and innovative early childhood educators for their leadership, exemplary early childhood education practices, and their commitment to help build the foundation children need to make the best possible start in life.

2020 Prime Minister's Awards Guidelines

Who is eligible?

  • Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada;
  • Educators who have successfully completed training in early childhood education and care;
  • Candidates who have provided direct education and care to young children at least 15 hours per week in a licensed childcare centre for the past three years.

Here is the full list of eligibility criteria

What do recipients receive?

Recipients of the award receive the following:

  • Cash awards worth up to $5,000
  • A certificate from the Prime Minister
  • Promotion of their best practices in early education and care
  • National recognition for their contribution to excellence in education in Canada

How do I nominate an early childhood educator?

Nominators need to submit a detailed nomination package that includes:

  • A completed and signed nomination form
  • A nomination text that shows how the educator meets the five selection criteria
  • Three letters of support from people who know and support the educator
  • Supporting documentation that confirms the educator's eligibility
    • A copy of your nominee's training certification, degree or diploma in early childhood education and care
    • A copy of the setting's operating license
    • An employer letter confirming that your nominee has worked at least 15 hours per week providing direct education and care to young children in a licensed Canadian setting for a minimum of three years

Please refer to the checklist to ensure you have included all necessary information in your nomination package.

How do I get started?

Start the process today by downloading a nomination form (ZIP, 77 KB).

Nomination deadline

Nomination packages must be submitted to the Prime Minister's Awards program office by email or regular mail January 14, 2020 — 11:59 a.m. Pacific time. Late entries will not be considered.

On this page

Awards

Early childhood educators are eligible for two awards:

  • The national Certificate of Excellence
    • Carries a cash prize of up to $5,000.
    • Awards are shared equally between the recipients and their centres.
    • Recipients are traditionally invited to Ottawa to receive their award from the Prime Minister or his designate.
  • The regional Certificate of Achievement
    • Carries a cash prize of up to $1,000.
    • Awards are given solely to the recipients.
    • Recipients are traditionally honoured locally at community events and receive their award from their Member of Parliament or local leader, as appropriate.

All recipient educators receive a certificate and a letter of congratulations from the Prime Minister. Each recipient's centre also receives a certificate.

Each year, the Prime Minister's Awards for Excellence in Early Childhood Education awards up to 5 Certificates of Excellence and up to 10 Certificates of Achievement.

All PMA recipients are expected to conform to the program's Code of Conduct.

The centre's financial award is to be spent in collaboration with the recipient. Award funds may be used for professional development, equipment, resource materials or other tools that improve developmental programming and children's experiences related to the educator's work.

If a Certificate of Excellence recipient has changed childcare settings, the centre's share of the financial award goes to the setting at which the recipient was working at the time of nomination.

Eligibility Criteria

At the time of nomination, all nominees must meet the following criteria:

Nominees must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

Evidence: Nominees must sign the nomination form attesting that they are Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

Nominees must have successfully completed training in early childhood education and care.

Evidence: A copy of the nominee's official certificate from a provincial or territorial body, training certification, degree or diploma showing completion must be provided.

Nominees must work in a licensed early childhood setting, as defined by provincial or territorial government regulations.

Evidence: A copy of the setting's operating license is required (except for nominees who work in Aboriginal Head Start sites on and off reserve). For nominees working in a school-based setting, an employer letter confirming the type of school-based early learning program is required.

Nominees must provide hands-on, direct education and care to young children in a licensed Canadian ECE setting at least 15 hours per week and must have worked as an early childhood educator for at least three years and must still be teaching at the time of nomination.

Evidence: An employer letter confirming direct education and care to young children at least 15 hours per week for a minimum of three years in a licensed Canadian ECE setting is required. Separate employer letters are required in cases where the educator has worked in different ECE settings over the three-year period.

Note

If the ECE certification is withdrawn or the license to operate is lost between the time of nomination and the award presentation, the PMA program office reserves the right to withdraw the candidacy. If eligibility status of a nomination is compromised or changes (e.g. due to loss of certification as a result of professional misconduct, the closure of a centre, etc.), the nominator and/or nominee has the responsibility to inform the PMA program office of a change in status in writing.

Note

Some provinces and territories are beginning to integrate early childhood education programs into the K–12 system. Eligibility for individual or team nominations which may fall under both award categories will be considered on a case-by-case basis. For more information, please contact the PMA program office.

Who can Nominate

Nominators may be any person or group with direct knowledge of the nominee's contribution, such as:

  • Parents
  • Colleagues
  • Centre director or supervisor, etc.

The following are not acceptable nomination methods:

  • Self-nominations
  • Nominations from immediate family membersFootnote 1.
  • Posthumous nominations

Nomination Form

Please complete one nomination form (ZIP, 77 KB) for each nominee. Completed nomination packages can be submitted on-line or sent by email or by regular mail.

How to download and open a PDF form

To be able to fill and save one of our PDF forms, you must either open the form in Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge or download it to your computer and open it with Adobe Reader® 10 (or a more recent version).

Most web browsers will not let you open, fill and save our PDF forms. Mobile devices such as iPads, tablets and cell phones cannot be used to open and fill our PDF forms.

Instructions for PC users

  1. Find the link of the PDF form you wish to download;
  2. Right-click the link and select Save as link or Save target as;
  3. Choose the location on your computer where you want to save the PDF form and click Save;
  4. Go to the file location where you saved the PDF form;
  5. Open the PDF form with Adobe Reader® 10 (or a more recent version);
  6. Fill and save your PDF form.

Instructions for Mac users

  1. Find the link of the form you wish to download;
  2. Press the Control key (Ctrl) and click on the link;
  3. Choose Save link as or Download linked file as;
  4. Choose the location on your computer where you want to save the PDF form;
  5. Go to the file location where you saved the PDF form;
  6. Open the PDF form with Adobe Reader® 10 (or a more recent version);
  7. Fill and save your PDF form.

If you are having trouble downloading the nomination form, you can use the PDF print only nomination form (ZIP, 287 KB) or email us at ic.primeministersawards-prixdupremierministre.ic@canada.ca and we will send you the form by email.

Signing the nomination form for an online submission

The nominator and nominee are required to sign the nomination form prior to submission. To be able to sign the form once downloaded onto your desktop:

  1. Complete the nomination form with Adobe Reader® 10 (or a more recent version);
  2. Print the nomination form;
  3. The nominator and nominee sign the form;
  4. Scan the signed nomination form;
  5. Attach the signed form to the electronic PDF form by selecting the Add Attachments feature.

Selection Criteria

Award recipients are selected based on the excellence and innovation of their outstanding ability to engage and support the development of the children in their care, and on their overall commitment to the development of children and the early childhood education and care profession. While a specific exemplary project or practice may form part of a nomination, nominees are judged on their overall and ongoing merits as educators.

In selecting award recipients, the committee looks for clear evidence showing that nominees have excelled in all of the following four areas:

  1. Support of child development
  2. Innovation
  3. Involvement with parents, families and the community
  4. Commitment and leadership in the field

Nomination Text

An effective nomination package should illustrate the outstanding achievements of the nominee and clearly explain why the individual should receive one of Canada's highest honours for educators.

1. Support of child development

Describe and provide concrete examples of how the educator provides daily experiences that support and promote each child's physical, emotional, social, cognitive, ethical and creative development.

Nomination writing tips

You may choose to explain how the educator:

  • optimizes each child's unique development;
  • encourages children interest and participation;
  • provides stimulating and engaging learning environments for all children;
  • develops and maintains warm, caring and responsive relationships with each child and with the group of children;
  • uses observation to assess children's skills, abilities, interests and needs; and,
  • uses developmentally appropriate best practices.

2. Innovation

Describe and provide concrete examples of the educator's use of innovative and creative approaches to encourage and support each child's unique development.

Nomination writing tips

You may choose to explain how the educator:

  • captures and maintain children's interest;
  • explores new or different ideas with children;
  • recognizes and adapts to children's special needs (including physical, emotional, social, cognitive and creative needs);
  • recognizes and includes diverse economic, cultural, linguistic and regional perspectives in the learning environment;
  • respects and promotes children's home language and cultural heritage;
  • incorporates events and activities occurring in children's lives in the learning environment; and,
  • incorporates international, national, local and community events and activities in the learning environment.

3. Involvement with parents, families and the community

Describe and provide concrete examples of the educator's efforts to involve and engage parents, families and the community in children's education and care.

Nomination writing tips

You may choose to explain how the educator:

  • develops and maintains open, cooperative relationships with each child's family;
  • encourages active parent, family and community involvement in children's learning;
  • develops and uses innovative approaches to engaging and supporting parents and families;
  • fosters community contacts or partnerships that encourage or complement children's learning and activities; and,
  • develops and maintains relationships with others in the early childhood education setting, such as colleagues or with other community services and organizations involved with the children.

4. Commitment and leadership in the field

Describe and provide concrete examples of the educator's ongoing professional development, leadership and commitment to improving the early childhood education and care field and to enhancing the ability of others in the profession.

Nomination writing tips

You may choose to explain how the educator:

  • organizes or delivers professional development courses, workshops or other development activities;
  • develops and disseminates learning materials, resources and best practices;
  • provides support or training to other professionals in the field (such as mentoring and training of students);
  • fosters or contributes to the development of a team environment within their own early childhood education setting; and,
  • is actively involved in a professional organization, network or association related to early childhood education and care.

Nominators should:

  • Organize their text using each selection criterion as a separate heading;
  • Describe special projects, philosophies, unique learning environments, extracurricular activities, or special achievements that make this nominee excel;
  • Focus on the nominee's overall achievements and not simply on one particular project;
  • Embed relevant photos or quotations directly within the text to support the nomination; and
  • Download the nomination text template for formatting guidelines and suggestions.

Letters of Support

Three (3) letters must be provided with each nomination, and must be dated and signed by the author. They should demonstrate a nominee's positive impact on young children and provide evidence of the nominee's excellence and achievements under any or all of the four (4) selection criteria.

Letters of support must meet the following requirements:

  • Letters must be written by anyone with direct knowledge for the nominee's accomplishments, for example:
    • Directors/Supervisors
    • Parents
    • Peers
    • Professional associations, etc.;
  • Letters of support cannot be written by the nominator
  • One letter must come from the centre's director/supervisor (unless they wrote the nomination);
  • Letters should not exceed two pages each;
  • Each letter must be dated, signed and issued no earlier than six months before to the nomination deadline;
  • Each letter must include contact information for the author (email and/or telephone); and,
  • Letters cannot come from a nominee's immediate family member.

Submitting Nominations

Completed nomination packages can be sent on-line, by email or by regular mail:

Submitting on-line

Before submitting your nomination on-line, please ensure to:

  • Download the nomination form and save it to your computer
  • Complete all required sections of the nomination form
  • Print the nomination form for the nominee and nominator to sign and date
  • Ensure you have included all required attachments by selecting the Add Attachments feature
  • Click the Submit button at the bottom on the nomination form

After submitting the nomination, you will receive a confirmation email.

Submitting by email

Email submissions must be sent to ic.primeministersawards-prixdupremierministre.ic@canada.ca by the deadline date in one of the following file formats:

  • .pdf,
  • .doc,
  • .docx
  • .rtf,
  • .txt,
  • .jpg,
  • .jpeg,
  • .tiff,
  • .tif,
  • .xps.

The total file size cannot exceed 20MB.

After submitting the nomination, you will receive a confirmation email.

Submitting by mail

If you chose to submit a nomination by mail, make sure your package is postmarked by the deadline date and sent to the following address:

Prime Minister's Awards
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
C.D. Howe Building 
235 Queen Street 
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H5

Please refer to the 2019 Nomination Checklist to ensure that your nomination package includes all necessary information.

Regardless of how you submit your nomination you will receive an email confirmation that your nomination was received. If you do not receive confirmation within 48 hours please contact us by telephone at 613-991-4255 or by email at ic.primeministersawards-prixdupremierministre.ic@canada.ca.

Selection Process

Prime Minister's Award (PMA) recipients are selected via a rigorous process that involves volunteers from major education stakeholders across Canada, including post-secondary institutions, business organizations, early childhood education associations, and parent organizations.

The program has recruited over 120 volunteer representatives from various education and early childhood education stakeholders, including provincial and territorial officials. This large number is required as each nomination package is reviewed by up to four regional evaluators. After an initial screening for basic eligibility, copies of the nomination text and letters of support are sent to our regional evaluators for review. The regional evaluators look for clear evidence that nominees have excelled in all of the following four areas:

  1. Support of child development;
  2. Innovation;
  3. Involvement with parents, families and the community; and,
  4. Commitment and leadership in the field.

Nomination packages are evaluated and ranked based on how well each nominee meets the selection criteria for the awards.

A final list of the top-ranked candidates is provided to the Prime Minister. Up to 15 awards (5 Excellence, 10 Achievement) are offered for the Prime Minister's Award for Excellence in Early Childhood Education. Provided standards of excellence are met, the PMA aims to present at least one Certificate of Excellence or Achievement to outstanding Indigenous educators.

Regional evaluators are all volunteers who give their valuable time and expertise at no cost to the program. The PMA program could not function without the generous support of our volunteer evaluators.

Team Nominations

  • The PMAs are designed to honour the overall accomplishments of an individual or team of up to three educators. Cash awards are to be shared equally among the team members. When team members teach in different centres, cash awards are to be shared equally among the institutions (Certificate of Excellence only).
  • Each member of a team must meet the eligibility requirements described above. A team nomination should reflect a true collaboration, not simply a collection of individual accomplishments. The nomination text should describe how the team worked together to meet each of the selection criteria.
  • Letters of support should endorse the accomplishments of all team members.
  • Only one nomination package is accepted for a team nomination; however, separate nomination forms are required for each nominee, along with a copy of each nominee's training certification, evidence of each nominee's experience, and copies of each ECE setting's operating license (if applicable).

Re-nomination

The following candidates are eligible for a re-nomination:

  • Unsuccessful candidates
  • Past Certificate of Achievement recipients

The following candidates are not eligible for a re-nomination:

  • Past Certificate of Excellence recipients

Sharing Best Practices

The achievements of all recipients are promoted both nationally and in the educator's home communities. Certificate of Excellence recipients are profiled in individual videos describing their exemplary practices and how they might be replicated by other educators. The videos will be used to dynamically share national recipients' stories with the education community and the media helping to promote their accomplishments. The videos will be posted on-line and shared on social media.

Acknowledgments

Employment and Social Development Canada, Indigenous Services Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), as partners in the Prime Minister's Awards for Excellence in Early Childhood Education, gratefully acknowledge the volunteer contributions of numerous organizations involved in early childhood education and care across Canada who take part in the award selection process. The program could not function without the participation of these volunteers.

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