Naima Amalou: Putting the children at the centre of education
Year: 2020 — Province: British Columbia
Certificate of Achievement Recipient
Burnaby French Language Preschool
Preschool for children ages 3 and 4 years
Burnaby, British Columbia
For many parents, Naima is the introduction to the entire education system. Often, they look to her for feedback as well as guidance on how to promote their child's development and success. My own son, who is now in elementary school still asks, 'Mom, when can I see Naima.'
Naima Amalou carries on a 40-year tradition of offering French-language early childhood education to children from non-French families. Speaking at least three languages (French, English and Arabic), she is sensitive to families who come from a variety of cultural backgrounds and believes that high-quality early childhood education in French should be available and accessible to them.
Philosophy of care
Naima's approach flows from placing the children at the centre of everything she does. She embodies the art and pedagogy of listening, reciprocity and collaboration. As a result, she emanates a strong sense of being present—meeting children where they are and then drawing them out, organically and authentically.
Support of child development
- Inspires children's interest and participation with fun activities: puppets draw out quiet children and help others understand emotions and events at home, such as a new sibling; singing and dancing bring children together and offer the natural relief of movement; playing the "What's in the Magic Hat?" mystery game has children guessing things from clues.
- Responds actively to difference: arranged extra help with social skills for one child; got an educational assistant for another, after a full year of advocacy; translated one child's observation that a classmate was not from Canada into the All About Me project focused on all children's backgrounds and differences;
- Exposes young children to STEM, based on their interests: two doctors demonstrated a stethoscope, a reflex hammer and a Doppler ultrasound; children traced their body and then populated it with organs; parents report children show increased curiosity and want to do science (e.g. growing plants from seed) at home.
Involvement with parents, families and the community
- Provides practical support to families: shares contacts and resources for parents of children with behavioural challenges; connects single parents to coordinate pick-ups and drop-offs; advocates to waive fees for parents who are struggling financially; supports immigrants or those who have been out of the workforce with resources and guidance.
- Actively involves parents in the classroom and the running of the preschool: one parent was grateful to be able to use the skills she had developed in her home country as preschool treasurer; others continue to help maintain the facility long after their children have stopped attending.
- Constantly renews her parent communication board to ensure there's something for all families: short handouts cover positive parenting, child development during play, social-emotional activities, and there are even short poems that make an important point related to parenting or child development.
Get in touch!
Burnaby French Language Preschool
6060 Marlborough Avenue
Burnaby BC V5H 3L7
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