Kelowna’s Little Owl Academy is one of this year’s recipients of a Child Care Award of Excellence from the British Columbia government.
The academy won this year’s Innovation Award, for its use of several innovative programs that provides the centre’s children access to unique learning opportunities.
The centre works with the Pacific Assistance Dog Society (PADS), including Sandy III, a puppy that is being trained to become a support dog. Having a puppy in the classroom teaches the kids about the role of service animals, how to care for and train them and the importance of inclusion. The puppy, meanwhile, learns patience, how to deal with loud noises and high-energy environments.
“By bringing an assistance dog like Sandy into the classroom, the children not only learn about inclusion of people of all abilities, but they also become little trainers,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “They are learning how to care for Sandy, and according to one of the nominators, the kids were so invested in the process that they even held a bake sale to raise money for PADS.”
This winning nomination package included letters of support from parents impressed with the academy’s use of technology embraced by the local school district that eases Little Owl graduates transition to kindergarten.
“The early childhood educators at this centre introduced ‘FreshGrade’, the same online program as the Okanagan School District, to help track young learners’ academic and emotional progress and share children’s successes instantly with parents at home,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care.
The academy’s staff, who care for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and school-aged children, are also certified in BrainGym, an exercise program that helps shed excess energy and promote learning, Rainbow Kids Yoga and American Sign Language, to name just a few.
- After an open call for nominations, Little Owl Academy is one of the 10 child care providers in British Columbia that have been selected to receive Child Care Awards of Excellence in five categories: provincial, Indigenous, innovation, partnerships and leadership.
- The Innovation Award recognizes early learning and care professionals (ECL) or teams that put unique and create ideas into action to the benefit of the young children in their care.
- The Child Care Awards of Excellence recognize the exceptional contributions that early childhood educators, licensed child care providers, organizations and local governments make throughout British Columbia.
- Award recipients were nominated by peers, parents and local governments. The ministry received 66 nominations for this year’s awards.
To learn more about Little Owl Academy visit their website.
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