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Meet Jess 1

Working as an Early Childhood Educator – Meet Jess

A career that is both rewarding, challenging, and inspiring – being an Early Childhood Educator for 10 years.

Jessica (more commonly known as Jess) Hoffman has been an Early Childhood Educator at Hope’s Home for 10 years. Year after year she welcomes new faces to Hope’s home, watches them as they grow and see the world with complete fascination and curiosity, and then has been there as they say goodbye to daycare. She’s truly witnessed it all. So we took a moment to look back on her career and get her perspective on the changes within the organization.

Meet Jess 21. How long have you been at Hope’s Home? What positions have you all held here? Give a little explanation about each one.

I have been at Hope’s Home for 10 years. In those years I have worked with all age groups as an Early Childhood Educator. The age I enjoy most is Preschool and School-age children. I love the way they discover and explore new experiences each day. The last two years I had the opportunity to be the Early Learning and Childcare Manager at the JPII Daycare location. Currently, I am an Early Childhood Educator for Preschool/School-age children as well as the Relief Manager at the Regina South location. My favorite thing to do with the children is science and arts!

2. What is the main factor that’s made you stay at Hope’s Home this long?

The main reasons I’ve worked for Hope’s Home for so many years is the children and our inclusive programs. Our programs support every child and are set up to include everyone no matter your ability. The best part of this is watching the children reach milestones and build relationships with each other. Nothing is more gratifying than watching a child succeed and concur challenges all while having fun with their peers. The amazing staff are the other reason I have worked for Hope’s Home so long. It’s like a family here and everyone is here for the same reason, to support the kiddos. Working in this field is challenging at times but is also the most inspiring and rewarding job I’ve ever had.

3. How have you seen the organization change from when you started to how it is now?

I first started at our College Ave location with around 25 children and a few staff. Fast forward years later, we have more locations throughout the province that support children and their families. With these locations came new programs and more supports for the children. In 10 years I have seen a lot of successful change that has helped this organization grow immensely. Through all the changes in the past few years we have kept our Vison, Mission and Values, of loving, supporting and accepting every individual equally, while creating an enhanced environment for all children. I am proud to be a part of Hope’s Home and to see our community and families come together to support and teach these young humans. It’s pretty incredible and really highlights the hard work and advocacy of our staff and families at Hope’s Home.

Meet Jess 34. How have you seen Hope’s Home impact the community you live and work in?

When I first started not a lot of people knew about Hope’s Home or very little at that. Now a large amount of people in our community know about Hope’s Home and I always get the response of, “Wow what incredible work you do! What an amazing place to work.” And I couldn’t agree more!  Throughout the years I have seen the community come together and support our Early Learning programs, Respite and daycare services by inviting us to their businesses to tour with our classrooms, by visiting us to see how our programs run, making donations, volunteering, the list goes on.

5. What is your favourite Hope’s Home memory or moment?

It’s impossible to have one favorite memory! But I would say that each year we have an award for the “Child of The Year” and we highlight that child and all their milestones, success and hurdles they have overcome. Being in that moment of listening to the stories, telling the stories of that child, how hard they have worked to overcome challenges, and to see the relationships and acceptance that each child has is truly the best memory I can ask for. I am the lucky one who gets to experience this each day and be a part of such an amazing organization.

 

Have any questions for Jess about her career with Hope’s Home? Or just want to tell her she’s amazing? Let us know in the comments!

 

That’s why there’s no place like Hope. ❤️

Swinging With The Stars Prince Albert

Welcome to the First Annual Swinging With the Stars in Prince Albert!

Swinging With the Stars Prince Albert

The crowd was electric, the judges were ecstatic, and the dancers put on a show.

The goal was to raise $60,000 and by the end of the night the room had come together to raise an amazing $110,000.

We can’t thank all the volunteers, Hope’s Home staff, the City of Prince Albert and all you wonderful dancers enough. You’ve helped us raise vital funds for our organization. We love looking back on all the amazing performances – watch them below!

Eric & Brooke – Our 2020 Judge’s Favourite!

Kim & Ayaz:

Lauren & Todd – Our 2020 Crowd Favourite. They raised the most money!

Danielle & Jason:

Dez & Sean:

Chelsea & Randy:

 

We hope to see you all next year at Swinging with the Stars Prince Albert 2021!!

inclusive childcare

How We Create Inclusive Childcare

Welcome to the first post to our Stories section: Inclusive Childcare Regina

Hi everyone,

This is the place where we will showcase achievements, industry tips, educational moments, and so much more. It will be a place to ask questions, share your thoughts, and learn a little more about Hope’s Home and what we do here. If you’re new to Hope’s Home, make sure to check out the rest of our website to see how we aim to improve the lives of children every day.

This first post will be apart of our Philosophy Series. This will focus on the concepts that frame our entire organization by guiding our actions in both our Childcare Centres and our Supportive Living Homes. Topic one is inclusion. Inclusion is what sparked the idea for the creation of Hope’s Home: Children with complex medical or developmental needs have the right to play and learn in the same environment as any other typically developing child. Fourteen years later, we have four Early Learning & Childcare centres to bring life to that fundamental idea. For more insight into what an inclusive environment means at Hope’s Home, we interviewed Nicole Shepherd and Jena Baldrey, two Nurse Supervisors at our Prince Albert location.

Nicole and Jena have both been advocates for Hope’s Home over the years. They’ve helped bring awareness to our organization and fought for the rights of families and children who utilize our services. Their dedication to Hope’s Home and desire to get each kid exactly what they deserve is inspiring to all of us. Thank you so much, Nicole and Jena, for everything you do. Our kids are so lucky to have you.

For more information on how Nicole has advocated for our kids, you can watch this video here.

 

“I witness inclusion happening every day at Hope’s Home, and every day I am overwhelmed by what I see. The staff and children are so creative in how they make an environment inclusive and I am so grateful and proud to be a part of Hope’s Home.”

– Nicole Shepherd.

 

1. What does the word “inclusion” mean at Hope’s Home? How is this philosophy implemented in day-to-day life?

Nicole: Inclusion at Hope’s Home means that every child is included in all aspects of programming, education, and everyday activities. Every child is treated equally despite varying skills and abilities and no child is ever left out or left behind. Inclusion is practiced every day at Hope’s Home and is an influencing factor when determining, developing, and implementing programming.

Jena: Inclusion is the foundation of our care. It means that the children, regardless of their developmental level or needs are part of the family environment created each day. It extends to the team of staff and caregivers and regardless of role, everyone is a mentor and a teacher.  

 

inclusive childcare regina

Because of our inclusive environment, our kids don’t see Nathaniel in a wheelchair, they just see Nathaniel.

 

2. What is the benefit of typically developing children experiencing an inclusive environment such as Hope’s Home?

Nicole: Typical children at Hope’s Home are not afraid, scared, or intimidated by a child in a wheelchair or a standing frame, or who may have tube feed meals or oxygen, as they see these things each day. Typical children are educated on developmental and medical equipment and procedures and are always wanting to help with all aspects of program and care delivery. They learn how to communicate in many different ways and languages and are always celebrating each others successes, no matter how big or small.  I am confident that the typical children at Hope’s Home are going to be the first ones to offer assistance to someone in need in the future, as they demonstrate how to be loving, caring,  and accepting of everyone in the inclusive environment at Hope’s Home every day.

Jena: I have seen first hand the profound learning that comes from an inclusive environment. My own children that attend the programs have developed into kind, generous, understanding individuals that believe above all else, everyone is special in their own way. They learn to embrace change and differences and acknowledge the resilience of their amazing friends that overcome challenges and succeed in their own special way. 

 

“Although there has been much improvement, there is still a lot of stigma around special needs and judgments passed on parents who care for them and their struggles. I feel that we are a safe place for these families.”

– Jena Baldrey.

 

 

3. How does an inclusive childcare environment change the quality of life for children with complex medical or developmental needs?

Nicole: An inclusive environment provides an opportunity for them to interact, socialize, and learn within their peer groups. The love, belonging and acceptance I see these children receive and give to the staff and typical children each day is amazing. Children learn from their peers and they make great strides developmentally through observation and by the therapies that are provided to them in an inclusive environment. The continuity of nursing staff at Hope’s Home improves the overall health and safety of the child with complex medical needs. I have also seen the inclusive environment at Hope’s Home improve the mental health of children with complex medical needs as it provides them the opportunity to be a child during times they do not have to be isolated at home or in the hospital due to illness.

Jena: Although there has been much improvement, there is still a lot of stigma around special needs and judgments passed on parents and families who care for them and their struggles. I feel that we are a safe place for these families. A place where the children can just be kids and their families can get a well deserved break and the understanding and support they need. 

inclusive childcare regina

A medical condition will never prevent a child from doing what they want to do. All activities are given the green light with a little bit of help from our staff.

 

4. Describe a moment where you witnessed inclusion happening? Why was this moment special to you?

Nicole: I witness inclusion happening every day at Hope’s Home and every day I am overwhelmed by what I see. The staff and children are so creative in how they make an environment inclusive and I am so grateful and proud to be a part of Hope’s Home. The moments that stand out for me as being special are the ones where the children with complex medical needs are not in the Early Learning and Childcare center or at home due to illness. The other children and staff always inquire about them and make cards and crafts to send to them that wish them well and lift their spirits. There were a few times where children went to the hospital with staff to read or play cards with their friend who was not able to be with them. The inclusive environment is not limited to centers or homes, it is outreaching to wherever the children of Hope’s Home may be. That is special.

Jena: I have seen so many. One very memorable moment was when one of our SL children began attending daycare. Everyday that she came in, initially with her walker, every child in the room rushed to be her helper and all were always so encouraging and excited for every milestone she met and all her hard work. I was able to witness this multiple times in a day.

 

5. What is the biggest challenge of offering an inclusive environment?

Nicole: The biggest challenge is finding and adapting different ways of doing things to meet the needs of Hope’s Home staff and children. I witness staff being creative and thinking outside of the box every day, which is both challenging but can also be rewarding. There is an added challenge in creating an inclusive environment when there are limited or inappropriate community resources available to provide support. I have been a part of advocating for and have witnessed the positive change over the years regarding community resources and hope to see more changes soon.

Jena: Ensuring that the funds are in place to allow for extra staffing and resources to ensure all children get the time and support they require to continue to develop and grow to their full potential.

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Jena: I have always been someone who was a very firm believer in inclusion and equal opportunity; however, I don’t believe I even understood the full meaning until I started at Hope’s Home. I have learned so much, not only from my mentors and managers but from the amazing, passionate, selfless individuals that care for our children every day and celebrate all the victories no matter how small. I am forever in awe of the amazing work that everyone in this organization does.

 

And that’s why there’s no place like Hope. ♥️