Shauna Alec has been working on the program since 2014. (Submitted/Lakes District News)

Shauna Alec from Burns Lake receives provincial recognition in early childhood education

Awarded the Lenora Pritchard Award of Excellence

A child care provider from Burns Lake has received provincial recognition at the virtual Child Care Awards of Excellence ceremony.

Shauna Alec, the early childhood director with Lake Babine Nation (LBN) which consists of five communities, received the Lenora Pritchard Award of Excellence last Tuesday.

“It’s unreal but I am more appreciative of just getting that recognition of all that hard work and dedication. The team and I have been building programs and services in the remote communities so it’s always nice and is such a grand gesture to be recognized provincially. It gives us more to create more and build on what we have right now,” said Alec.

Ten years ago she graduated from Aboriginal Childhood Educators. In 2014, she was hired by LBN to work on the pilot project with the Ministry of Children and Family Development, called Home Early Years Outreach program. Her work back then consisted of her getting in her little car and driving up to remote communities, and doing what she usually did at a daycare but at homes. This pilot is where it all started and after Alec received a huge grant, she was able to facilitate the centre and hire early childhood educators to come into the community to do early intervention services.

“It gives equal rights to the remote communities; Burns Lake is so blessed with a bunch of programs and services but what about the remote communities and that was the reason why the outreach was created,” she said.

Alec’s Early Outreach program is for children 0 until six years old through the Lake Babine Nation.

“This past year, our lives were turned upside down, but early childhood educators and child care providers worked hard to adapt, safely and quickly, providing a sense of routine and comfort for B.C. children and their families,” said Mitzi Dean, Minister of Children and Family Development in a news release. “Their achievements deserve our gratitude and recognition on a daily basis, but this year more than ever I’m honoured to celebrate their exceptional achievements with the Child Care Awards of Excellence. Congratulations!”

An open call for nominations was put out and reviewed by an external selection committee. After this, of the 88 nominations, 17 Child Care Awards of Excellence were awarded all across the province, in nine categories.

Alec’s work in early childhood education and childcare has been to build on the legacy of Lenora Pritchard. Pritchard, who was an early childhood educator worked in several Indigenous communities throughout the province. She died in a car accident.

“It’s a great opportunity for networking and shines the light on remote communities on how much service we do need. I am just grateful it came; just to be recognized because it is a lot of work,” said Alec.

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist

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