By Katherine Matiko, Communications Coordinator, Catholic Family Service

The Parent-Child Learning Centre, a unique child care program serving teenage mothers and their children, received a Child Development Professional Award of Excellence December 4.

“This is a remarkable achievement for the Learning Centre staff,” said Managing Director Sherry Hiebert-Keck, who accepted the award on behalf of Catholic Family Service. The award was presented in Edmonton by the Honourable Danielle Larivee, Minister of Alberta Children’s Services.

“It is well-deserved recognition of their unwavering professionalism and dedication to these young mothers and their children,” Sherry said.

The Learning Centre was nominated for the award by staff in Alberta Health Services’ Best Beginning Program, who work closely with our staff in a collaborative setting.

In their letter of support, the Alberta Health Services staff said, “Catholic Family Service continually strives for excellence in not only their care of the infants and children, but through mentoring, support and education for the whole family.”

“They have integrated the latest brain architecture research and key learnings in infant and child development into their everyday practices.”

The Learning Centre is located at Louise Dean Centre, a high school operated by the Calgary Board of Education for pregnant and parenting teens. Early childhood educators work closely with teachers to accommodate young mothers when they need to leave class to breastfeed or care for their babies. Children as young as six weeks old are welcomed in the program.

Earlier this year, the Parent-Child Learning Centre was named one of 22 Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Centres by the Alberta government.

“This designation recognizes the flexibility of our program, the strength of our early learning child care curriculum and the stability of our long-standing collaboration with the Calgary Board of Education and Alberta Health Services,” said Patricia Jones, CEO.

Presented annually by Alberta Children’s Services, the Child Development Professional Awards of Excellence recognize child development professionals and early learning or child care programs for their contributions to children and families in Alberta. These professionals and programs are celebrated for their commitment to quality care and raising the bar for excellence in their field.