Putting a new service in place is not always as easy as it might appear. It takes people who understand the service and know how to integrate it into the current structure. Vanier Continuing Education’s Dale Gallagher is one of those people who can make things work. As a result, Dale was recently awarded a 2010 Canadian Recognition of Prior Learning Award in the category of Persons. The award was presented to her in Ottawa at the CAPLA Conference – Recognizing Learning – Recognizing Skills, Innovative Assessment Practices to Support Sustainable Development.
Dale is responsible for the implementation at Vanier College of the PLAR project to recognize the competencies of private sector daycare workers in order to grant them an Attestation of College Studies in Early Childhood Education. Jacques Robert, a representative from the Quebec Ministry of Families, Seniors and the Status of Women, is very pleased with the results of the assessments. In fact, more than 600 people from 303 private daycare centres in the province were able to have their qualifications recognized.
“Introducing the PLAR service required a blitz of preparation including training teachers to conduct evaluations and creating English evaluation tools adapted from French,” says Dale Gallagher. “The first information sessions took place in April 2008 and by August the first group of candidates had completed their assessments. At that point they proceeded to acquire gap filling training they needed from one-on-one credit sessions with an ECE teacher.”
At Vanier, the project was very successful: 425 people participated in the information sessions, 250 came to an evaluation interview, 175 were admitted into the program and 132 have already graduated. “We expect that by the end of the year 150 people will have completed the program,” indicates Sylvie Lord, the Director of Vanier Continuing Education. “This is close to 25% of the total number of provincial participants.”
She goes on to say, “Thanks to Dale’s work, these people are now qualified workers who are recognized as such. They can work in daycare centers and they will earn the salary of trained workers. Most important, the children in their care will benefit from the fact that through our program, these workers obtained comprehensive training in Early Childhood Education.”