Caring in Community
Early learning and care alumni apply their Camosun education in community and make a difference, one child at a time.
A group of pre-school aged children play in the oak meadow and small field with no fence behind the Fairfield Community Place. They run through the “food forest” on the edge of the meadow, or squat low to examine bugs and plants. A boy sits in a hole in the ground and another crawls on a big stump.
“We try to not bring out toys,” says early childhood educator, Morgan Myers. She’s one of four adults accompanying the group of children in the Moss Rock Preschool program at Fairfield Community Place, located in the Fairfield neighbourhood of Greater Victoria. “We just let them climb trees and navigate rocks. It’s child-led, and it’s a different way of approaching child care than we’ve had in the past.”
Myers graduated from Camosun’s Early Learning and Care program in 2014, and her approach to educating children is directly influenced by what she learned. She still credits her instructors with the child-centred approach that infuses her work at Moss Rock.
The connection to Camosun is strong. Several of Myers’ colleagues at Fairfield Community Place are also Camosun early learning and care alumni, and there are usually a few current practicum students from Camosun. This gives staff the opportunity to practice their mentoring and leadership skills.
“Everything that we learn in school is practiced here,” says Morgan Adams, an educator who discovered she loved children while working as a nanny in Ireland and decided to make a career of it. She graduated from Camosun in 2017. “The program is open-ended, nature-based, and the philosophy is based on children and exploring the things they’re interested in.”
Myers adds, “In the mainstream child care model, children follow the educators’ rules. But we turn the model upside down to look at children differently. This lets us see them as capable human beings, as citizens with rights.”
This whole-person view of children is fundamental to Camosun’s child-centred approach to care. Both Myers and Adams feel fortunate to be able to apply their training so directly to their work in the community. They also acknowledge that this approach benefits more than the individual children they work with—it leads to healthier families and communities.
“The community centre is a hub,” says Adams. “There are so many families who live in the area and they develop tight knit relationships with each other through their children and the community centre. It’s so important to build these relationships because we’re becoming a society that pays more attention to our phones than to each other.”
She watches a group of kids playing tag across the meadow behind the community centre, edging on the elementary school next door. Their laughter carries through the early spring air in the quiet residential neighbourhood.
Adams continues, “If we’re able to connect with each other, with nature, and have more effective relationships, the whole community benefits. I really believe the foundation starts with how we care for our children.”
This is part of a series of profiles of alumni and students from Camosun’s School of Health and Human Services, in support of the Together for Health campaign for The Alex & Jo Campbell Centre for Health and Wellness.
Update As of May 2019, both Morgan Myers and Morgan Adams have left Fairfield Community Place for opportunities elsewhere, but remain connected to the community.