21 May Lexie Biegun: Fostering creativity through art and nature
Year: 2019 — Province: British Columbia
Certificate of Excellence Recipient
“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.”
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
Original news: https://ic.gc.ca/eic/site/pmaece-ppmepe.nsf/eng/wy00692.html