An early childhood educator for the Qualicum First Nation received national recognition from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for her extensive career working with Indigenous youth on Vancouver Island.
Qualicum First Nation Child Care Centre manager Pam Moore was in Ottawa on May 2 to receive the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Early Childhood Education. Moore has been working with the QFN Child Care Centre for a little more than three years.
Moore said prior to presenting the award, Trudeau met with each recipient one-on-one.
The whole experience, she said, was kind of surreal. Moore said she was kind of surprised her co-workers would even nominate her.
“I was surprised to win… I don’t ever think one person is deserving; we work as a team. I think any one of the staff could have easily been a recipient as well.”
While the nomination was initially kept from Moore, she said, staff had to let the secret out of the bag so she could sign some papers.
Erica Auringer, QFN family outreach worker, said she, elder Judy Edwards and Dawn Weir nominated Moore for the award. Auringer said Moore is their manager.
“She’s just such a good manager; just a nice person to work for in general… just for all of the things she’s done for the community, we thought she should be recognized for all that hard work she puts in, too. I don’t know how she has time to do all the things she does,” said Auringer, referring to some of the work Moore has done, including the introduction of cultural kits.
In late 2016, Moore introduced cultural kits to School District 69.
The 10 kits are meant to educate children aged three to six about Aboriginal awareness.
While only five early childhood educators across Canada receive the honour each year, Moore stressed that many others she has worked with would be equally deserving.
“Over the course of my career, I’ve worked with some excellent ECEs and other staff, any one of whom could have been deserving of this award as well,” she said.
“There are some excellent ECEs out there and I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of them. That in itself contributes to my growth as an ECE.”
Moore, who has lived in the Comox Valley for 25 years, has more than 30 years of experience in the field.
After 19 years of working as an early childhood educator with the K’omoks First Nation and Comox Valley Aboriginal Headstart pre-school program, Moore’s career took her down-Island, where she became an early childhood and cultural educator with the Qualicum First Nation.
“A long time ago, when I went to take my ECE, someone had said to me ‘you’re really good with kids, you should look into working with them’,” she said.
“So I took my ECE and I’ve been doing early childhood education ever since.
She said she’s always felt lucky to do what she gets to do for a career.
“It’s a great job. You get to work outside, you get to have fun with the children every day, it’s creative, it’s interesting,” she said.
“To work with kids is such a joy because they’re so much fun to work with.”
Other recipients of the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Early Childhood Education this year included Ashwak Bawa-morad of Edmonton, Maria Cortese of Vancouver, Yvette Sorin of Winnipeg, and Matthew Sampson of Halifax.
— With files from Lauren Collins,