Newfoundland teacher, early childhood educator among national award recipients

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Newfoundland teacher Christina Cox and childcare centre owner Gaye Roberts were among the country’s educators recognized with the 2012 Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence and Excellence in Early Childhood Education.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the recipients on Wednesday. The awards were presented at a ceremony in Ottawa ahead of World Teachers’ Day Friday.

“Good teachers help lay the foundation with which we interpret and navigate the world,” Harper said in a news release.

“It is a real privilege today to honour educators who have imparted their knowledge and inspiration to us and our children, helping all of us become the best we can be.”

Cox, who teaches at Holy Cross Junior High, received the Certificate of Excellence award.

The news release notes Cox seizes every opportunity to get students involved in activities that will get them trying new things, and continuously re-evaluates her approach to teaching.

Cox began a Media Awareness Program that challenged student thinking regarding Internet safety, identity theft and information sharing. The program was undertaken by all language arts students and was even promoted by the Centre of Distance and Learning Innovation.

Cox encourages students to discover their province's history through heritage fairs, provides students with opportunities to improve through the Skills Canada Competence program.

Through the program, Cox became involved in the First Lego League NXT Robotics initiative. Cox's students have participated and won in various categories, and in 2009 a group of students was nominated for a position at the World First Lego League Robotics Competition.

Cox also has her students involved in the Amalgamated Virtual Film Festival, which has students preparing videos on topics ranging from copyright and permission to use.

Roberts, the owner of New Fun Land III (3) in Lewisporte, received a Certificate of Achievement award.

The release notes Roberts recognizes the need for affordable and accessible childcare in rural Newfoundland, and now runs seven non-profit childcare centres, employs over 50 early childhood educators and caters to over 400 families.

Roberts has recently taken on the challenge of opening two preschools in Senegal.

Roberts is also a firm believer in fitness and physical activity, and ensures all her centres are equipped with such equipment as treadmills, balance beams, exercise games, punching bags, skipping ropes. And no child is left out as Roberts adapts environments for children with special needs and provides special equipment to promote motor skills and movement.

She also promotes cultural awareness in all her centres and often brings back props or costumes for the children. Parents are invited to talk about their countries and children learn words in other languages, including sign language. Each year, the centres also celebrate events and holidays from around the world.

Roberts maintains an open door policy at her centres and parents are welcome to come and go at any time. Newsletters are sent home for feedback and information and suggestion boxes are in place so that parents can easily voice concerns.

The Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence honour outstanding elementary and secondary school teachers who, through the innovative use of information and communications technologies in the classroom, help students develop the knowledge and skills to succeed in the digital economy.

The Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Early Childhood Education honour exceptional early childhood educators who help build the foundation that young children need to make the best start in life.

This year, awards were given to 94 teachers/educators from across Canada

Organizations: Holy Cross, Skills Canada Competence, First Lego League NXT Robotics World First Lego League Robotics Competition.Cox

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Ottawa, Lewisporte Canada

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  • Bernice Keels
    October 04, 2012 - 23:39

    Congrats Chrissy, You are so very deserving of this award! I have had the honor of working with you and being in your presence at Holy Cross Junior High!! You are a great asset to the students and staff there!!! So very happy for you. Keep on smiling..Your smile lights the day :)