Year: 2010–2011 — Province: Ontario
Certificate of Excellence Recipient
Sivummut Head Start
230 McArthur Avenue
Ottawa, ON K1L 6P5
Type of Setting: Aboriginal Head Start for children aged 18 months to 6 years
Sitting on the ground with a leaf on his head and studying a little bug, that's Fredrick Simpson having an in-depth discussion with one of his young children. Dubbed "Nature Boy" by the children and colleagues, Mr. Simpson is not often seen without his aquarium of latest finds. He has the unique talent of bringing magic into the world of nature.
Philosophy of Care
Mr. Simpson's approach is without doubt guided by his love of nature and the outdoors. He uses nature as a base for fun and inquisitive learning, but gets down to business as he observes, assesses and promotes learning.
Support of Child Development
- Although born and raised in Toronto, Mr. Simpson's love of nature ties him to this Inuit cultural centre. He also finds ways to teach children about the world in which their ancestors lived and uses Inuktitut words for counting, learning animal names and songs.
- In preparation for grade one, Mr. Simpson implemented a teaching table where children can practice emerging literary skills. He uses the time to observe and assess children and follows up with relevant activities. Mr. Simpson has also brought the Brigance screening system to the program and uses it to promote learning and activities where signs of difficulty become evident.
Involvement with Parents, Families and the Community
- Recognizing the need for fathers to connect in a meaningful way, Mr. Simpson began a Father's Group, which has engaged the fathers in innovative ways like bowling, camping, building a storage shed or creating a garden.
- Mr. Simpson keeps parents involved and informed about activities and events and regularly writes in the children's communication books.
"Fred is an incredible educator who seems to genuinely care about the kids he teaches. (…) His love of nature and community is apparent in all he does. There is no doubt he has a large influence on the children he has taught over the years. (…) I don't think it's possible to be a more dedicated teacher than Fred Simpson."
"Fred's effect on the children can often be seen in their free play. Last week, while Fred was away at training, a little boy in my class sat in front of his peers and 'read' a book. The boy paused and made sure to display each illustration to the class before proceeding. Later, when I asked the boy what he was doing, he simply looked at me and said, 'I'm Fred'."