Year: 2016 – Province: British Columbia
Certificate of Excellence Recipient
Busy Bear Preschool Club and Head Start
3092 Sumas Mountain Road
Abbotsford, British Columbia V3G 2J2
Type of setting: Aboriginal Head Start for children ages 0 to 12 years
Sophie Loewen has formed such a connection with the First Nations community she serves that she has moved to the reserve and is now learning the language of the Stó:lō people.
Philosophy of care
Miss Loewen views each child as competent and capable, such that they will benefit from stimulating and relevant learning activities. At the same time, she ensures children get one-on-one time with her, when needed.
Support of child development
- Supports children's contribution to learning, regularly rearranging activities and discussions to respond promptly to their remarks and questions.
- Develops tools and approaches to optimize individual children's development, and shares those techniques with parents to try at home.
- Expanded the after-school program so her former preschool students could keep attending as they got older.
Involvement with parents, families and the community
- Strives to keep the language and culture of the Stó:lō people alive: writes stories incorporating sacred teachings that the children act out for parents; organized a tea for Elders during which the children performed two songs in the Halq'eméylem language.
- Responds to unique family situations: helped, for example, the great-grandparent of a student moving on to Kindergarten learn about the bus system and schools in the area, and invited the school principal to meet this caregiver to help with the necessary paperwork and answer questions.
- Reaches out by teaching classes in the community, such as one on children's self-esteem; the high attendance reflected the trust she has developed with families.
"The best part about Sophie is [that] she doesn't mind talking parent to parent and you know that she truly cares to see your child grow and change in the course of years."
"[Sophie] listens to suggestions, ideas and loves to collaborate. What comes through in the end is her unwavering commitment to provide only what is in the best interest of children and families."
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