• 2023 Certificate of Excellence in Early Childhood Education

    Naho McDonald, Hendrika Du Preez & Donna Ross: The Best Start for Every Child
    Year: 2023 — Province: British Columbia
    Certificate of Excellence Recipients

    Queen’s Park Preschool Society
    New Westminster, British Columbia
    Preschool, Ages 3 to 5 years

    “Miss Donna brings her leadership skills and knowledge of how a preschool can run smoothly. Miss Henda brings her knowledge of preschool age readiness and calming nature in connecting one-on-one with students. Miss Naho brings her wealth of fun, engaging songs and stories and youthful energy that never seems to run out.”


    As educators at Queen’s Park Preschool Society, Naho, Henda and Donna are dedicated to creating a play-based learning environment with developmentally appropriate activities for preschoolers. They provide magical learning opportunities that are imaginative and inclusive for all learners.

    Philosophy of Care

    Naho, Henda, and Donna’s philosophy is based on the Social and Emotional Learning approach – the process through which all learners acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions. The outcome is children who feel secure and calm when faced with stressful situations, develop positive relations with adults and other children, practice self-control, demonstrate compassion for others, and seek cooperation.

    Support of Child Development

    Queen’s Park Preschool Society teachers pride themselves in providing a play-based and inquiry-based curriculum. If children are interested in a specific area teachers explore that curiosity further by gathering materials, reading books, and conducting experiments alongside the children. For example, math concepts are explored through grocery store activities where students count objects and get initiated to financial literacy skills. Literacy skills are discovered through stories, songs, a magnetic letter where children can identify themselves. And Naho, Henda and Donna allow children to play with a wide variety of objects and materials, and focus on the process of art rather than the final product.

    The school community is made up of a diverse group of families from many parts of the world. Naho, Henda, and Donna recognize and acknowledge the various heritages and cultures that their students celebrate. With this in mind, they have discussions with parents to plan a curriculum that is in harmony with the identities of the children. For instance, children learn about Diwali, the festival of lights in India, linking the holiday
    with their science exploration about reflections and shadows.

    Involvement with Parents, Families, and the Community

    Every spring, Naho, Henda, and Donna plan and prepare an art exhibit at the New Westminster Art Gallery, displaying the children’s art. They take students on monthly field trips to the local art gallery to learn about local artists’ paintings and sculptures. Creating artwork exposes the children to various art forms but also builds their fine motor skills. The whole preschool will spend time setting up the displays in the gallery for the public to view. The outcome is that the children are proud of their work and they get to show it to their families, loved ones, and community.

    They also put a lot of effort into creating a harmonious and welcoming environment for their young learners. Parent volunteers work alongside the teachers to best support their child and create positive relationships with other kids in the community. Teachers give parents specific tasks to ensure the program runs smoothly, with detailed work descriptions at the outset of each year such as, preparing food, organizing spaces, or just getting involved with play. Parents are also invited on field trips such as a visit to a fire station and the local art gallery – experiences that allow children to see other perspectives and build relationships with adults beyond the classroom setting.

    Get in touch!
    Queen’s Park Preschool
    Lower level of Centennial Lodge Queen’s Park
    New Westminster, BC V3L 1L7


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