South Peace News
A High Prairie high school graduate has won a top award for her work as an early childhood educator in Grande Prairie.
The Early-Childhood Educator-of-the-Year Award was presented to Janelle Cunningham at the Early Learning and Childcare Awards on May 10.
The award is sponsored by Grande Prairie Regional College.
“My reaction to winning this award was it’s a feeling of accomplishment and gratitude,” says Cunningham, who graduated from E.W. Pratt High School in High Prairie in 2011.
Cunningham is employed with the Stepping Stones Society in Grande Prairie and was nominated by her supervisor Shawna Good- enough.
“I am a child development supervisor, my role is to ensure the children are being nurtured holistically in all domains of development cognitive, social, language, physically, by providing experiences, meaningful interactions and a rich learning environment,” she says.
She has been educating children for four years and currently employed with Stepping Stones School-Age Program for two years.
“My supervisor has commented on how important it is to have people like me in the early childhood field, that I am understanding with children and my approach is genuine,” Cunningham says.
“I always love watching a child succeed in their own world of different successes and challenges.”
She has had a deep passion to see children and families grow.
“I love helping the families I meet, connecting with them and doing my best for the short time we are in each others’ lives,” Cunningham says.
“I enjoy watching children learn and I love guiding them to be responsible citizens in our community, giving them the ability to love themselves, so they make good choices as adults.
“I was around children a lot growing up and in high school she did a work experience at the [High Prairie] elementary school and loved it.”
Cunningham has a further goal to educate other educators to pursue best practice and advocate for brain development.
She is the daughter of Al and Roberta Cunningham of Peavine Metis Settlement; granddaughter of Keith and Bev Parke of Salt Prairie, and Georgina Cunningham; and great-granddaughter of Flora Mearon, both of Peavine.