Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Early Childhood Education
Jenny Sanderson: Education is More than the Classroom
Year: 2021 — Province: Manitoba Certificate of Achievement Recipient
Four Feathers Inc. Head Start Program Aboriginal Head Start Pre-school program 3 to 6 years
“Jenny has mentored all of us through our accreditation programs and was always there when we needed advice and encouragement. She prepared us to take on the challenges and meet the objectives of Four Feathers School to ensure that children are provided with the best possible care and attention in order to sustain their health and development in the long term.”
Philosophy of care
Jenny’s approach to learning is based on the spirit of the Head Start Program. Curriculum should be designed and built on Indigenous ideas, interests, and commitment to positive change. The ultimate goal is to help parents and children build a better future while being supported by community partners. She is a strong proponent of the idea that early intervention at a preschool age is the key to success. It gives children self-esteem, a desire for learning and opportunities to develop fully as young people and members of the community.
Support of child development
Jenny’s class is all about active learning. She nurtures children through attentive conversation, reading and signing, and being responsive with warmth and attention to their particular circumstances. She provides a space that is safe and healthy – an environment that is conducive to growth and development. Her premise is that each child is unique and has their own way of knowing. She fosters learning through exploration and discovery in the context of play and more formal pedagogical activities.
Jenny is a leader. Her mission is to ensure that children have a successful immersion into the elementary school system while nurturing a sense of pride in their Indigenous heritage. With this in mind, Jenny has a perspective that is wider than school curriculum. For instance, she believes that children need the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with Elders, the carriers of knowledge and history. Integrating Indigenous ways of knowing is central in the development of her didactic material and activities.
Involvement with parents, families and the community
As director of the Four Feathers Inc. Head Start Program she views her role as one that goes way beyond the walls of the school. Education within the family and in the community is just as consequential as learning in the classroom. She encourages learning and support in the home. To achieve this goal she organises positive parenting workshops and family counselling programs. And for the well-being of the family and the community, she launched diabetes workshops, cooking classes, as well as budget and tax preparation – all initiative that prepare children for life.
Jenny built the Aboriginal Head Start Program at Four Feathers Inc. from the ground up. She secured the funding and managed renovations and regulatory requirements. Today, 40 Indigenous children are in this early intervention program funded by Health Canada. The impact of Jenny’s work will endure in time. Children in her program are provided with a sense of pride in their heritage, an appetite for learning and an identification with their communities’ cultures.
Get in touch!
Four Feathers Inc. Head Start Program
45 B Gilbert Avenue
Winnipeg MB R2X 0T4
Jenny Sanderson: Education is More than the Classroom (canada.ca)