Year: 2016 – Province: Ontario
Certificate of Excellence Recipient
Carruthers Creek Public School
1 Greenhalf Drive
Ajax, Ontario L1S 7N6
Type of setting: Full-day Kindergarten for children ages 4 and 5 years
Laurie Higgins always has her students on her mind. She arrives in the morning with new ideas and activities to incorporate into the learning environment and shares the benefit of her 20 years' experience with fellow educators.
Philosophy of care
Mindful that children develop differently and at their own rate, Mrs. Higgins gets to know them individually, so she can encourage their interests, and notes their strengths, weaknesses and differences, so she can ensure they feel included and valued.
Support of child development
- Fosters individual talent and knowledge by having children create books with step-by-step instructions on how to wear a hijab, play and win at tic-tac-toe, or create Lego masterpieces.
- Designs enquiries based on children's interests: one such cross-curricular unit, on knights and castles, involved research, art and role playing, and lasted eight weeks.
- Incorporates diversity and cultural perspectives into the class; recognized by Superintendent for being a leader in this area.
Involvement with parents, families and the community
- Meets parents throughout the year to pass on feedback about a child's progress, ask questions to better understand a child, and let parents share concerns and ask their own questions.
- Created a take-home music kit featuring materials to make an instrument, a CD for each child to keep with songs the class regularly sings, and ideas on how to enjoy music at home; children are eager to take the box home for their four-day turn.
- Involves families in community events: rather than attending a fundraiser alone, for example, she invited students and parents to come, too, providing a fun outing and a chance to teach the importance of giving.
"The impact [Mrs. Higgins] has had on [her students'] little lives goes beyond the classroom. She is their safety blanket—warm and inviting, reassuring and comforting."
"It is a joy to know that Mrs. Higgins is with the children all day sharing her positive energy, her contagious smile and caring demeanour."
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