An early childhood educator in Chilliwack has been recognized on a national level for excellence.
Amanda Adams, educator and team leader at Elm Drive YMCA Child Care Centre, received a Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Early Childhood Education after being nominated by several of her co-workers.
Adams said she cried when she read the letters her colleagues had written.
“I felt extremely humbled and valued, and that maybe I truly am achieving my goal of having a positive long-lasting impact on the children and families in my community,” she said.
Adams was one of 15 across Canada to be honoured for early childhood education in 2022. She was one of 10 recognized with a certificate of achievement, while five others were awarded certificates of excellence.
The co-workers who nominated Adams had high praise for her.
Christy Tones called her an “exemplary educator.”
“She is an outstanding example of excellence in our field and her contribution to the lives of children, families and educators in Chilliwack, B.C. is worthy of recognition,” Tones said.
She added that Adams has an “outstanding” and “innate” ability to recognize each child’s strengths, weaknesses and individual development.
Fellow coworker Sheri Josephson agreed.
“Perhaps my greatest reflection on Amanda’s strengths is her unwavering belief in the inherent worth of every individual; her constant, positive regard for every child,” Josephson said.
She added that Adams believes “every child is worthy of being treated with dignity and respect.”
Adams’ compassion extends to her coworkers, families of the children and the community as well.
“Amanda excels at motivating, encouraging, coaching, guiding and challenging her peers,” Tones said.
She has helped families who have faced food security, housing issues, unemployment, addiction, violence and trauma by providing them with resources, winter clothing, extra food and more.
She has also helped raise money for the community through walk-a-thons and read-a-thons.
Adams said she’s very passionate about her job as an early childhood educator.
“I love the sense of wonder and discovery young children have, and the amazing ‘aha’ moments they experience,” she said.
“I chose the 0 to 5 age group because the most growth and development happens at that age, specifically resiliency. My goal has been to help develop resiliency in young children specifically the vulnerable sector in our community.
“I want each child who walks into my centre to know they are loved and valued, to have that one adult who truly sees them and accepts them for who they are and is cheering them on,” Adams said. “My hope is to become the inner voice that says ‘You can do this.’”
Prime Minister’s Awards were also awarded to grade school educators for teaching excellence and teaching excellence in STEM.
Adams was one of two educators in the Fraser Valley honoured.
Nerlap Kaur Sidhu, a Grade 6/7 teacher at Eugene Reimer Middle School in Abbotsford, was awarded a Prime Minister’s Award for teaching excellence, certificate of excellence. She is being recognized for her dedication and success in promoting inclusion and social justice in the education system.