Educator Spotlight | Hannah Spray
Educator Spotlight | Hannah Spray
June 25, 2018 | Alexandra Louis
Hannah Spray | Salt Spring Island, BC
HiMama is improving learning outcomes for children zero to five. We support early childhood education because the sector is the most challenging teaching environment.
Low wages, lack of professional development and long days; HiMama's aim is to ease childcare management and support early childhood professionals.
The HiMama team firmly believes that early childhood professionals deserve to be celebrated and that recognition is important. Our Educator Spotlight is one way we are shining a light on the important and undervalued work of childcare professionals.
Photo Credit: Billie Woods Photography
“Before I completed my ECE training, I was actually taking a Bachelor of Science with the intent to major in chemistry. It was during my second year in that program when I became pregnant and experienced the loss of a miscarriage. That experience was an eye-opening one for me, that made me realize how much I deeply desire to be a positive influence and active agent in facilitating children on their journey of becoming the capable, kind, and critically thinking adults that this world so greatly needs. It was then that I applied for the ECCE program at Capilano University, and I am very happy to have found the career that I have now and am exceedingly passionate about”.
Challenges in Early Education
“My work is not without it's challenges! As I have stepped into a program coordinator role, I have found that it can be tricky to balance the "behind-the-scenes" administrative work, with being fully present and providing the rich experiences in class that I strive to offer. It's a big job to run a program, and I think very few people understand all that's involved”.
“ECEs are largely underappreciated. I have experienced personally the "you're just an ECE" kinds of comments that undermine the very important jobs and extensive training that many ECEs continue to put our all into every day. It can be very hard to feel valued for what we do when the pay is low, benefits are usually unheard of, and acknowledgement and appreciation for our professionalism and efforts often go unseen. This often leads to staffing shortages, which then puts extra pressures and stress on those that continue to truck on through because we really do love what we do. It's a vicious cycle”.
“Illness is another challenge. As we are trying to teach children healthy practices, we are wiping noses, taking coughs to the face, cleaning up accidents, and coming in contact with many different illnesses that come through the community. It can be challenging to keep ourselves healthy, and to not bring the illnesses home to our families”.
“I wish we had a bigger fund to draw from to be able to offer exactly the materials, space, and support that I dream of for my classes. However, we do the best we can with what we have and are running an enriching program already”.
“I believe that building strong and caring relationships with the children is the first step to offering positive experiences in early learning. I can feel the joy and love in the interactions with my students. It fills my heart to know that these positive interactions are helping to encourage the growth of emotional intelligence while the children are also growing intellectually and physically. I have written a blog post on the Reasons Why I Love Working With Children that goes into more detail regarding this question, and is consistently the most-read post on my blog every day - https://thebigtodolist.com/love-working-children/
“The parents are always a child's first teacher and the primary guiding force in their life. This means that keeping communication between home and school is of utmost importance as it helps to ensure both environments have the information needed to offer consistency and work on providing solutions for each child's individual strengths and challenges”.
Hannah's Career Goals
"I have recently stepped in as program coordinator at my centre, and I am busy learning all the extra pieces involved in managing a centre. There is a lot more to it than I had imagined, so for now I'm happy concentrating on learning and trying my best to fulfill this new role. At some point I would love to start a program that connects young children with our elders, and have a lot of ideas in mind, but I will have to save that for the future".
"As a strong supporter of outdoor learning and the benefits of spending time outdoors with children, I have structured my program to allow for more than half of our time together spent outside, rain or shine. We take regular trips into the forest on our property, and it always amazes me to see the richness in the games and projects the children develop while we're out there, with no toys and few materials beyond paper and crayons. It has been a positive experience for me to see how much enjoyable learning can occur with nothing but fresh air, nature, and curious minds”.
Do you have an educator you think should be in our Educator Spotlight? Contact us today and let us know!
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