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Caren Eigenmann - Child Garden Preschool

Year: 2017 – Province: British Columbia

Transcript—Caren Eigenmann Video

[Caren Eigenmann speaks to camera, withthe Parliament buildings as a backdrop behind her]

[Photos of Caren and her students are displayed on screen throughout herinterview]

[Upbeat music plays softly in the background]

I am Caren Eigenmann. I live in Coquitlam, British Columbia, and have apreschool in Port Moody, British Columbia.

[Text on screen: Caren Eigenmann, British Columbia]

Winning this Prime Minister's Award of Excellence, I feel very humbledby – and honoured by the family that nominated me and the people that supportedme to make this happen.

I wanted to become an early childhood educator because I've always lovedkids, and so I thought this would be a great way to turn my passion into acareer.

Today in my presentation I talked about learning about feelings andemotions, identifying how you're feeling, self-regulation at an early age. Andwe find that, by building a foundation of emotions and feelings early on, thatchildren are better able to resolve conflict, problem solving successfully andindependently.

I think as a team we're the most proud of working really close with ourcommunity, and so we have a garden at the front of our preschool. They plantthe vegetables, they harvest them, and then we bring them down to the ShareFood Bank at – as a – as a school, and it's much appreciated by the community.And we have a partnership with the seniors that access that service as well.

[Video footage of Caren receiving her award from Justin Trudeau isintercut]

If I was going to offer some advice to a fellow educator or somebodythat was an aspiring teacher, I think I would say to take the time to slowdown, listen, observe, don't move too quickly to the next step, and just be inthe moment. I think I would say to the kids that I work with, like, thank youfor teaching me so much about social-emotional wellbeing and resilience.

Teacher: A dance for Miss Caren's award?Nice.

Student: Gratulation [sic], Miss Caren.

Text on screen: Congratulations Miss Caren.

[Canada wordmark]

[Music ends]

Certificate of Excellence Recipient

Caren Eigenmann

Child Garden Preschool
2625 B Clarke Street
Port Moody, British Columbia V3H 1Z4

Telephone: 604-637-9705

Type of setting: Preschool, children aged 30 months to 5 years

Caren Eigenmann infuses her classroom with lessons about social justice. When she started a garden to contribute to a local food bank, it taught children about those less fortunate and inspired a wonder of nature and a curiosity about differences between people and cultures.

Philosophy of care

Eigenmann is so wildly creative that all learning feels like play. Her curriculum emerges from what her students are curious about, and she uses their interests to create special activities and to build playscapes for exploration. Eigenman's students know that their ideas are important.

Support of child development

  • Regularly encourages empathy through art, play and books. Eigenmann created an "Agreement of Belonging" with her students and families asking them to create art to represent their ideas.
  • Embracing every opportunity to encourage curiosity and wonder, and to teach her students to find answers to their questions, Eigenmann works with students to research the answer online or in books.

Involvement with parents, families and the community

  • When her students were concerned about litter in the park, Eigenmann encouraged them to make a no littering sign and helped them write letters to the mayor.
  • Hosted a silent auction with her students to raise funds for a service dog for one of their peers. Through this her students learned about Autism, service animals and empathy toward others.
  • Students participated in the local Adopt-a-Senior program, sponsored a child in Cambodia, joined in a city clean-up initiative and built a free "little library".

Rave reviews

"Due to Caren's commitment to following the students as much as leading, the children have learned that their concerns are important. (…) Caren taught preschoolers that their worries could be translated into action, and that they can directly improve their community."


"Caren's keen interest in social justice in early childhood education is innovative, infectious and inspires her fellow educators to learn more about helping children advocate for themselves through emotional literacy and to explore new creative tools."

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