Samantha has been an Early Childhood Educator (ECE) in a child care centre for the past three years. She started caring for children as a part time job and soon found that it was her calling.
She went to Sask Polytechnic for two years to gain her credentials. During this time, she had four practicum placements. These placement experiences showed her a variety of early childhood education settings and how various types of spaces meet the needs of children. She loves caring for children especially through sensory play: the messier, the better. Playing with shaving cream and splashing in water brings a lot of joy to her toddlers and this is rewarding for Samantha.
Her and her work partner care for nine toddlers aged 18-30 months. They have a routine with breakfast, lunch and nap time but sneak a lot of fun in between with outside time, reading, playing pretend and laughing.
A memorable moment for Samantha was when she was having a rough day and one of her preschoolers came and sat beside her and asked her what was wrong. She just told him she was feeling sad that day. He said that he had an idea, ran and got his lucky penny and came back and gave it to her, assuring her that the penny would make her feel better. She still has that penny.
She loves being that person for her little ones and realizes she can impact their development for the rest of their lives. They may not remember her name, but she hopes they remember how she made them feel as she assists them to develop their speaking, critical thinking, sensory and analytical skills.
COVID has impacted their lives, as it has all of ours, but the staff’s positive role modelling and reinforcement of mask use has the kids understanding that masks are cool and they help protect those around you. The staff’s positive attitude has helped these little ones through difficult times.
Her wish is that ECEs are recognized as educators by the government and valued more. They are still waiting for their vaccines. They are still underpaid. They are still at risk.