Lexie Biegun: Fostering creativity through art and nature

Transcription – Lexie Biegun, 2019 Prime Minister's Award recipient

[Black screen fades up to a white background, with the following words appearing, line by line: Prime Minister's Awards. Music playing. Fade to black and then up white and grey screen with medium shot of woman, smiling, on the left side of the screen, with the following words appearing, line by line, on the right and voice over: Lexie Biegun, Lexie's Little Bears Child Care, Victoria, British Columbia.]

[Fade to black and then up to photos with voice over. Photos: Lexie lying on the grass holding a daisy, surrounded by children; Lexie walking down a path out of the forest with three young children; Lexie and a young child reading a book, with the child point to a page; Lexie and a co-worker drawing on a pad of paper; Lexie sitting in a circle with four children reading a book; Lexie smiling at a child holding a rock; Lexie with five children dressed in outdoor clothes, playing in the dirt; Lexie sitting with children at a craft table in the art studio, while the children are playing with clay; Lexie sitting with children at snack time at a round table decorated with a white tablecloth and a bonsai in the middle; Lexie walking with a line of children holding hands in the forest.]

Using the environment as a third teacher, Lexie Biegun safely nurtures the children at her Little Bears Child Care centre in the fresh air. They freely create, explore and uncover the things that matter to them. They explore the untouched forest on the four-acre property, observe wildlife, improve their gross motor skills using raw and natural materials, plant a garden, run and play in the dirt, do yoga, and even read a book or nap outdoors. Lexie also built an art studio in two of her buildings and hired an artist-in-residence to work with children in small groups on creative projects.

[Fade to black and then up white and grey screen with medium shot of woman, smiling, on the left side of the screen, with the following words appearing, line by line, on the right: Lexie Biegun, Lexie's Little Bears Child Care, Victoria, British Columbia. Voice over: Lexie Biegun.]

[Fade to white, with the Government of Canada FIP and then the Canada Wordmark appearing in black.]

Year: 2019 — Province: British Columbia
Certificate of Excellence Recipient

Lexie Biegun

Lexie's Little Bears Child Care
Licensed group child care centre for infants, toddlers and preschool-age children
Victoria, British Columbia

"I feel proud on a daily basis of who [my son] is becoming as a little person. I wholeheartedly believe that the educators' influence plays a pivotal role in this: they are helping to shape who my child becomes and there is nobody else that I would entrust than the educators at Little Bears."
— Parent

Lexie Biegun began her early childhood education journey caring for eight children in her basement. Today, she runs a four-building centre for 78 children, with 15 staff on a four-acre forested property where children can learn, play and even nap outdoors.

Philosophy of care

Lexie honours children for who they are and recognizes them as capable people with amazing potential. Using the environment as a third teacher, she and her trained colleagues safely nurture children, letting them freely create, explore and uncover the things that matter to them.

Support of child development

  • Tailors programs to allow children to foster their creativity: built an art studio in two of her centre buildings and hired an artist-in-residence (Atelierista) to work with children in small groups.
  • Advocates for children to learn through nature and their environment: organized property so children can explore the untouched forest, observe wildlife, improve gross motor skills using raw and natural materials, plant a garden, play in the dirt and run, do yoga and read a book outdoors.
  • Embraced pedagogical narrations (learning stories) as a way to document children's inquiries and her own thoughts on children's learning; changes the centre's materials, environments, schedules and routines based on the ideas of children and families, and her reflections
  • Explores Reggio philosophy through regular trips to Italy where it was founded, and to other countries where it is used, including New Zealand, returning with ideas to share with educators at the centre and beyond, including to improve the child care experience.

Involvement with parents, families and the community

  • Takes sincere and compassionate approach to engagements with parents, including, for example, not charging one family for a day's care when the mother had a medical emergency.
  • Spent numerous hours preparing a successful application to be part of provincial $10 per day child care initiative; the extra funding has made a big difference for families by reducing fees.
  • Acts as a major sponsor for annual cancer research fundraiser in support of the local hospice society, and donates food to the local food bank at Christmas
Transcription – Lexie Biegun - 2019 Prime Minister's Award for Excellence in Early Childhood Education

[Black screen fades up to medium shot of woman in interview setting against a white background. Music playing.]

"I think that the most important thing is the relationships that children form with their peers, with the educators and with the environment around them."

[Fade to black and then up to white with close-up shot of woman, smiling, on the right side of the screen, with the following words appearing, line by line, on the left:

Lexie Biegun, Lexie's Little Bears Child Care, Victoria, British Columbia. Fade to black and then up to photos with voice over. Photos: Lexie walking down a path out of the forest with three young children; Lexie lying on the grass holding a daisy, surrounded by children; Lexie with five children dressed in outdoor clothes, playing in the dirt; Lexie smiling at a child holding a rock; Lexie walking with a line of children holding hands in the forest.]

"I honestly do feel like I do have the perfect space. We live in the most beautiful place on earth. We're in Victoria, British Columbia, which is just stunning. We're in a forest. Having an outdoor program is a pretty awesome thing, and being able to go outside for the majority of the day rain or shine."

[Cut back to close-up of Lexie in the interview setting.]

"It is our best practice to have the children outside as much as possible, and being able to take them out into the forest and have them nap outside is a pretty amazing thing."

[Fade to black and then back to Lexie in the interview setting.]

"I knew, since I was in Grade 6 myself, that I was going to be a preschool teacher or Kindergarten teacher. I first thought I was going to be a Kindergarten teacher for a really long time, and then in the summer of high school I got a job at a daycare and I started working and I thought, 'No. This is it. This is what I love. The little ones.' I'm a little bit obsessed with babies and preschoolers so the best part of my job is that I get to snuggle babies, and that is worth its weight in gold."

[Fade to black and then to photos, with voice over. Photos: Lexie sitting with children at snack time at a round table decorated with a white tablecloth and a bonsai in the middle; Lexie and a young child reading a book, with the child point to a page.]

"I would say that this is the most rewarding field that anyone could ever, ever enter into.

[Cut back to Lexie in the interview setting.]

"I would say, 'Volunteer. Get into a child care centre. Come and check out what we're all about and come and see what we're doing. It's an exciting time to be an early childhood educator."

[Fade to black and then to photos, with voice over. Photos: Lexie speaking into a microphone during a recipient's presentation on best practices in the classroom; Lexie seated while another recipient draws on paper with a marker, with other recipients standing nearby; Lexie applauding a fellow recipient's presentation; Lexie reacting during a presentation; Lexie with Paul Thompson, Associate Deputy Minister, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, having received her Prime Minister's Awards pin; Lexie playing around in an upside down room at the Canada Museum of Science and Technology;.]

"It's such an interesting thing to be in the same room as all these innovative teachers and early childhood educators. We have such different practices but I love learning about the technology they are bringing into their programs. They are incredible people. I made some amazing connections with the early childhood educators especially.

[Cut back to Lexie in the interview setting.]

"We're all going to be keeping in touch. We've all promised to go visit each other as well."

[Fade to black and back to Lexie in the interview setting.]

"I put the Prime Minister's Award of Excellence at the top of my vision board when I was 20 years old …

[Cut to photo with voice over. Lexie posing with the other recipients of the Prime Minister's Awards for Excellence in Early Childhood Education and a Mountie on Parliament Hill.]

"…and here I am doing it. It's unbelievable that this is where I am right now."

[Cut to Lexie in the interview setting.]

"And, I would just say, 'Follow your dreams. Never ever, ever, ever stop dreaming."

[Fade to black, with the Government of Canada FIP and then the Canada Wordmark appearing in white.]

Get in touch!

Lexie's Little Bears Child Care
1931 Millstream Road
Victoria BC V9B 6E2

250-590-3603
lexieslittlebears@gmail.com
http://lexieslittlebears.ca/
Facebook: @Lexie's Little Bears' Child Care Inc.

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