NEWSLETTER - Grande Prairie Regional College - Grande Prairie by gjjur4356


									                   Department of Human Services

       Issue 2           NEWSLETTER                      March, 2008

         Issue 2
                                      FUN TIMES AT GPRC

GPRC Department of Human Services Newsletter   Issue 2   March, 2008
         Community Rehabilitation Professional
           Development Committee (CRPDC)
                  2008 Conference

The Community Rehabilitation Professional Development
Committee (CRPDC) invites you to attend their annual
Conference on May 1st & 2nd, 2008. The workshops will
 Basic grief related issues and approaches to help both
    clients and professionals, and strategies concerning
    effective methods of helping individuals with
    disabilities who have been affected by grief and loss.
 Highlighting and generating ideas to address some of
    the issues, barriers, and support needs of aging
    persons identified and specifically by the disability
    service sector, presented by the Vocational and
    Rehabilitation Research Institute (VRRI).
 An interactive self care panel designed to assist
    caregivers to focus on their physical and emotional
    needs to improve their ability to maintain personal
    and client health and prevent burnout.
 Featured speaker Cory Johnson, who has done
    speeches around Canada since 1996, motivating and
    challenging people to see the possibilities within
    themselves and each other.

These workshops will benefit anyone who is in or will
assume a caregiver role, those in the disability field, or
anyone seeking information, ideas and strategies about
aging, grief and loss, and/or self care.

The “Dual Diagnosis” workshop held in April 2007 was a
huge success; you can help support the CRPDC to
continue to provide valuable workshops designed to meet
specific local needs with your attendance in May 2008.
                                                              We’re on the

                                    DISTANCE LEARNING WITH GPRC
     Being a distance learning student at GPRC has had many benefits for me. I have been able to continue my
     education in Early Childhood while I continue to work full time in the field, running a full time family day
     home. When I decided to try distance learning I expected it to be a totally independent course study, but
     found the opposite was true. The ELCC Department and all of my distance tutors have been there for me
     every step to help me be successful. Answering all of my questions, providing me with the opportunity to take
     more than one course at a time when I was able, and even just encouraging me when I needed it. The distance
     courses have made it possible for me to gain the education that I needed, to practice successfully in a field of
     work I really love. If it hadn’t been for the opportunity of distance courses I would not have been able to
     return to school at this point in my life. The distance program at GPRC can truly be made to fit any busy
     schedule. With two children of my own, and working full time, it was the only way I would have been able to
     gain my education. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to gain my diploma through distance learning
     at GPRC. It has enhanced my career, my family, and my life in countless ways. For people that are considering
     distance learning I would say, go ahead, get the information you need to take advantage of your opportunity
     for further success.

                                                                                        Dawn Smith, Grande Prairie

                             Greetings! I have had the privilege of being a distance education tutor for over 10
                             years. It has been rewarding to support students to pursue Early Childhood
                             Education while they live and work in their own communities. Tutors play a major
                             role in distance course completion. The rare student is able to complete a distance
                             course with little tutor assistance; however, on average, students who are most
                             successful, tend to regularly seek out instructor guidance through phone calls and
                             now, more typically, through e-mail. Additionally, tutors often offer assistance
                             beyond course support: directing students to key college personnel, course
                             advisement, emotional support and sharing in their personal achievements.
                             Centres, families, and staff directly benefit from workers who are seeking on-going
                             training. It has been a delight to share the joys that student workers discover when
                             they have applied new learning to their practice and have determined the positive
                             impact upon children’s growth and development. Over the last five years I have
                             also witnessed an incredible growth in students who are utilizing computers to
                             compose and send in their work. This has allowed them quicker instructor response
                             times, often contributing to faster course completion. As well, students, who have
                             had to travel to other communities for work, family matters, or even holidays, have
                             been able to easily continue their studies with little interruption. Congratulations
                             to all students in their successes to date. Your hard work adds strength to families
                             and communities. Remember, when you need additional information or
                             interpretation about your course, we are a phone call or e-mail away!

                                                                                               Sharon Strasdin

GPRC Department of Human Services Newsletter                          Issue 2                 March, 2008
                               20 Steps to Promote Positive Self-esteem
                                         by Richard D. Lavoie, M.A., M.Ed.

A dynamic relationship exists between self-esteem and skill development. As a child improves in self-esteem, his academic
competence increases. And as that competence increases, his self-esteem improves. The caring and concerned caregiver
must come to realize that positive self-esteem is both a prerequisite and a consequence of academic success. Here are 20 tips
to help foster a child’s self-esteem:

1)      Value each child as an individual with unique strengths, needs, interests and skills.
2)      Focus on the child’s strengths. Emphasize and celebrate his “islands of competence.”
3)      Reject the child’s behavior, but never reject the child. Use affectionate terms and nicknames when scolding (“Your
        room is a mess, honey. Now turn off the TV and make your bed.”)
4)      Remember that sincere interest can be more effective and meaningful than praise. Demonstrate a genuine interest in
        her activities, hobbies, etc.
5)      Establish realistic, achievable goals for your child. Anticipate success.
6)      Avoid using sarcasm with kids – children with language problems often misinterpret it.
7)      When discussing an issue or a problem, avoid bringing up past difficulties.
8)      Never compare one child to another.
9)      Help the child develop decision-making and problem-solving skills.
10)     Understand that mistakes are an inevitable (and valuable!) part of any learning experience. Use these as an
        opportunity to teach and assist.
11)     Divide large tasks into smaller, manageable ones. This will ensure success, mastery, and retention.
12)     Maintain a file of his academic work. Use this to demonstrate his progress and development when he is feeling
13)     Encourage him to maintain “collections” (e.g., baseball cards, stamps, rocks, etc.). This allows him to be the
        resident expert on a topic.
14)     If she does not participate in team sports, promote individual sports (e.g., skiing, golf, swimming). This will provide
        opportunities for success, exercise, and peer interaction.
15)     Communicate your confidence in the child and in her future.
16)     Permit and encourage the child to follow the normal fads of his peer group (e.g., clothing, music). This will enhance
        his acceptance at school and in the community.
17)     Emphasize the positive aspects of her behavior or performance, even if the task was not completely successful.
        Reward direction, not perfection.
18)     Anticipate that the child will have plateaus, failures, backslides, setbacks, and regressions. Support and encourage
        him at these times. Kids need love most when they deserve it the least!
19)     Look for opportunities to offer him choices to allow him to practice decision-making skills.
20)     Never, ever, communicate disappointment to your child. The disappointment of an adult may be too great a burden
        for a child to carry.

    Your child’s self-esteem will be determined by the conditional acceptance that he receives from others – and the
     unconditional acceptance that he receives from you and
    Your child’s self-esteem will be determined by success and progress in four areas:
     o      Social (acceptance, friendships)
     o      Competence (in a skill area)
     o      Physical (clothing, attractiveness)
     o      Character (effort, generosity, etc.)

Emphasize, recognize and reinforce all four areas!
                               Child Care Staff Professional Development Funding

What is Professional Development funding?                          What am I not able to spend it on?
It is grant funding to support skill enhancement and               It may not be used for:
professional development through education and training             toys, equipment, books or resources for children;
opportunities.                                                      child care expenses to attend training;
                                                                    travel expenses to attend training;
Who is eligible to receive this funding?                            meals and/or subsistence; or
Funding is available to paid certified day care staff and family    criminal record check/clearances.
day home visitors working in licensed day
care centres and contracted family day                             How do I apply?
home agencies that are accredited or are             NEW!          Staff must complete the Supplementary B Form indicating
working towards accreditation. This funding                        what the funding will be spent on and when the payment
is only available to Canadian Citizens or staff                    will be made.
holding Canadian Permanent Resident status.
                                                                   Supplementary B Forms can be submitted throughout the
How much Professional Development funding can I                    year on an as-needed basis but must be submitted no later
access?                                                            than march 31 of each fiscal year.
Up to $1000 per fiscal year (April 1 to March 31) based on
hours worked/claimed is available.                                 The Supplementary A Form (wage verification) must also
 Hours Claimed       Months Claimed           Amount Eligible      be submitted at least once per year in order to access the
 28-79 hours         2 consecutive            Up to $250
                                                                   Professional Development funding. The required forms are
                                                                   located online at
 80+ hours           2 consecutive            Up to $1,000
                                                                   How will this money be paid to me?
What can I spend the Professional Development funding              Grants are paid on your behalf to the child care program
on?                                                                that is responsible for transferring the funding to you.
Eligible expenditures up to $1,000 include:
                                                                   Do I have to pay for the expenditure first?
 post-secondary coursework in early childhood education
   (ECE);                                                          You can apply for the professional development funding
                                                                   before you actually pay (but ensure that the expenditure is
 first-aid training;
                                                                   under the list of eligible expenditures). The child care
 resources/books to a maximum of $250 per year unless
                                                                   program has the discretion to release this funding to you
   enrolled in an early childhood development course from a
                                                                   prior to paying for the expense. Alternatively, the child care
   post-secondary institution or are certified at Level 3, then
                                                                   program can hold the funding until you provide a receipt of
   the $250 limit is waived;
 conferences, workshops in ECE education development;
 related professional association fees;                           What else do I need to know?
 staff holding Level 3 certification are eligible to access       The approved funding is applied to the fiscal year based on
   funding to enroll in related coursework and educational         the date you paid for the expenditure (not the date an
   programs such as business administration, computer              expenditure or service was received nor the date a course
   courses, education, human services, social work, etc.; and      was taken).
 computers, printers, related software, and internet costs
   only when registered in an ECE credit                           Unused professional development funding may not be
   course (for Level 1 and 2 staff) or any                         carried over to the next fiscal year nor can an unused
   credit course (for Level 3 staff) within the        NEW!
                                                                   portion be transferred to another person.
   same fiscal year. Proof of
   payment/receipts must be kept for                               A portion of the funding can be “pooled” among several
   computer/internet related expenses.                             staff providing there is written consent from each staff
                                                                   members. Pooling of funding is typically used when all staff
                                                                   in a child care program attend workshops/training/speaker
             For further information, please call toll-free
             1-800-661-9754 or visit
                                                         Alberta Children’s Services
                                                                                                          Update October 2007

 GPRC Department of Human Services Newsletter                                Issue 2                   March, 2008
                             Disability & Community Support Program

                 NEWS                    Suspension of program reflects lack of demand
               Jan 24/08

                                          The suspension of the GPRC certificate program in Disability and
                                          Community Support is a disappointment rather than a surprise for those
                                          involved in the care of persons with developmental disabilities. Agencies
                                          have long been struggling with inadequate funding and the difficulty of
                                          attracting qualified
employees to positions in the field; the College has been balancing the knowledge that the program is important
and valuable with the reality that for over 10 years, too few students are willing to invest time and resources to
attain credentials which do not result in better recognition in the workplace. The certificate program is now on
hold until the demand returns.

The decision will not affect any current students, nor will any current faculty positions be eliminated, but within
both the College and the community of care-giving agencies and the families they serve, there is profound
disappointment that this suspension has become necessary.

Susan McKenzie, CEO of Persons with Developmental Disabilities, Northwest Alberta Community Board
responsible for administering the funding for the staffing support required for nearly 400 individuals with
developmental disabilities agrees. “The province has recently increased funding to agencies to go towards
wages and staff retention initiatives, but more work has to be done to encourage young people to go into this
field of study. People with developmental disabilities depend on the services they provide.”

“We are working closely with those agencies in the region who need workers with the skills this program has
provided,” says Karen Kennedy, Acting Chair of the Department of Human Services at GPRC. “Meeting the
education needs of individuals in the workplace continues to be our priority. We can continue to have an impact
on skill development in the field of disability and community support even though we are not providing the

Much of the curriculum within that program will continue to be offered at GPRC as part of partner programs
Teacher Assistant and Early Learning and Child Care. Other courses may be made available at the request of
agencies in the field, on a cost-recovery basis.

Because the College is suspending the certificate program, yet retains the instructional resources, it continues to
be poised to respond to needs of learners and the community. Anyone interested in exploring a career in
disability and community support is invited to discuss study options with Student Services at GPRC. Various
opportunities in alternate delivery of courses exist, as well as transfer options to complete credentials.
Preparation for careers as Teacher Assistant or Early Learning and Child Care also includes much of the DCS
curriculum, and may be of interest to prospective students.

“This has been a painful decision, because we know how meaningful this program can be for caregivers and for
those in their charge,” says Don Gnatiuk, President and CEO of Grande Prairie Regional College. “The hard
truth that we have faced is that the region is not demanding this program at this time. We will continue to work in
close cooperation with agencies and service providers of our region, and will be responsive should that situation
change. When the demand returns, we will be ready.”
                                     Making a Difference:
      The Department of Human Services prepares students for fulfilling careers working
      with people who need additional support to function successfully in their communities.

                                     CORE BELIEFS:

                           All people share basic human needs.

                           All people have equal rights.

                           A positive quality of life is most likely attained
                            through practices that enhance status, community
                            participation and skill development.

GPRC Department of Human Services Newsletter                Issue 2              March, 2008
                                        Teacher Assistants in High Demand

Each morning, Rhonda Chateau can’t wait to go to work – even though it’s a career she stumbled upon almost by

After spending years operating her own day home while looking after her own young daughter, Chateau was looking
for a way to use her passion for helping children on a larger scale.

She was one of the very first people to sign up for the Grande Prairie Regional College’s one-year Teacher Assistant
program, something Chateau says was a perfect fit.

“I thought about doing a course like this before but it was only available through long distance learning. That wasn’t for
me,” she said. “It seemed like something natural for me to do. It wasn’t a huge time commitment. I didn’t find it was
hard on the family. I knew things wouldn’t be easy but it was a lot of fun as well.”

The Teacher Assistant program has been offered at GPRC since 2002 and is designed to prepare people like Chateau
to work in educational Settings.

“Our graduates enter the workplace with an understanding of the various disciplines in a school, particularly those who
work with children who have disabilities, and are prepared with the knowledge and skills to help children with
everything from remedial reading or math to implementing a speech pathologists plan,” explained Dolly McArthur, an
instructor and Chair of the Department. “Our students bring a perspective and experience (200 hours practicum) to the
classroom that enables the students to achieve their goals as well as assist the teacher to achieve that much more.”

As a graduate of the one-year GPRC certificate program, Chateau is currently wrapping up her fourth year as a T.A. in
the Grande Prairie Public School District’s (GPPSD) preschool program at the Lion’s Learning Centre. Before that, she
worked temporary stints at both Avondale and Crystal Park Schools.

“It’s the perfect job with perfect hours. It has worked out well,” she said. “If you want to work, T.A.s are always needed.
I love my job. No matter what happened the day before, I’m always ready to come back the next day.”

According to Chris Farquharson, the Assistant Superintendent of Student Services for the GPSD, there are
approximately 120 teacher assistants in the public school district, many of which are at Crystal Park School.

“Our district is one of the biggest employers of T.A.s in the area with the majority of positions at Crystal Park. Because
many of the T.A.s are dealing with kids with disabilities, having the proper training is so critical,” she said. “With that
training, as a T.A. working with a teacher, you’re able to make learning happen more in tune with the child’s individual

The training of classroom educational assistants is a priority of the province-wide co-ordinators group in which
McArthur participates.

“We are putting the final touches to a province-wide learning outcomes agreement for educational assistants which I
think is very exciting,” she said. “We know that our graduates take a very important set of skills and strategies into the
classrooms, and I am so pleased to know that a province-wide standard has been agreed upon.”

“We’re very included in what is happening in the classroom. We’re like a well-oiled machine in there,” she said,
noting this year they’ve had two classes per day with 15 students in one and 12 in the other.

“I don’t think the classroom could run without the T.A.s. We deal with a lot of language and speed issues so there has to
be support staff to work with the kids. The longer I have been around, the more responsibility I’m willing to take on.”

“You may think I have a lot of responsibility, but to me, that’s just what’s expected. It’s a happy place to work.”
                                           Applied Behavior Analysis

          What is this?? It sounds so technical!

          Applied behavior analysis is the systematic application of
          behavioral principle to change socially significant behavior a
          meaningful degree.


                                         O.K. , it’s helping students/others to change their behavior so
                                         that they can learn and get along with their peers!

   So why would I take this course?

   The course will provide you with additional tools to use with the individuals you work or
   live with. Some of the skills you probably already use; this course will expand the bag
   of tricks you already have.

   Also, it is a course that will take you one step closer to a T.A. certificate.

          So what exactly will I learn in this course?

          You will learn techniques for recording behaviors, as well as skills and strategies to help you deal
          with a variety of behaviors. For example, you will learn how to define behaviors clearly, write
          behavioral objectives, use positive reinforcement techniques, teach new behaviors, etc.

          The skills learned in this course will help anyone who works with children – teachers, teacher
          assistants, day care workers, parents, etc. The skills learned in this course would help anyone who
          works or lives with adults – group home workers, supervisors, vocational workers, etc.

                    Isn’t the course really technical?

                    Some of the titles for the different concepts covered are “technical” sounding. Because this
                    course is an “applied” course we take those “technical” terms and make them “real”! The
                    assignments are real life assignments! You will apply the skills to your own life or to the life of
                    the people you may already be working with.

                    We want you leaving this course with skills, tricks, techniques that you will actually use!

                            Coming this Fall 2008            Wednesday’s 6:00-9:00 p.m.

GPRC Department of Human Services Newsletter                               Issue 2                March, 2008
                                         Is this a rabbit or a duck?

                                                 Q:      What’s black & white and goes round and round?

                                                 A:      See bottom of the page for the answer.

Word Search
Can you find the hidden words? They may be horizontal,
vertical, diagonal, forwards or backwards.


Acrobat, Animals, Arena, Audience, Balance, Band,
Big Top, Clowns, Costumes, Dogs, Elephants,
Fire Eater, Hoops, Horses, Juggler, Lions, Music,
Parade, Ringmaster, Rings, Safety Net, Sideshow,
Strongman, Swing, Tent, Tigers, Tightrope, Trapeze

A: A penguin stuck in a revolving door
                                              Child Care Accreditation

     Alberta is the only province in Canada to offer a pre-school child care accreditation program!

     The purpose of the voluntary accreditation initiative in Alberta is to raise the standard of child care in the
     province and improve best practices in early learning and child care services. Accredited programs let
     parents know that their children are participating in quality child care programs that meet standards that
     are over and above mandatory government regulations. Accredited programs are evaluated against ten quality
     standards of child care excellence, based on Outcomes for Children (standards 1-3), Outcome for Families
     (standards 4-5), Outcomes for Staff (standards 6-7) and Outcomes for the Community (standards 8-10).

     1.  Children are safe, secure, well cared for and nurtured;
     2.  Relationships between service providers and children are supportive and respectful;
     3.  Every child’s optimal development is promoted in an inclusive early learning and child care environment;
     4.  Families are supported as the primary caregivers for their children;
     5.  Relationships with families are supportive and respectful;
     6.  Program philosophy, policies and procedures support staff in providing high quality early learning and
         child care services;
     7. The work environment supports quality service delivery;
     8. The service responds to the needs and concerns of children, their families, the staff and the community;
     9. Families and community stakeholders are actively engaged in ensuring that community diversity and
         interests are reflected in the delivery of early learning and child care services; and
     10. Early learning and child care services participate in ongoing monitoring and evaluation processes that
         support continuous quality improvement.

     Alberta Children’s Services (ACS) provides pre-accreditation grant funding to child care operators to assist
     programs in completing their accreditation self-study. This funding supports quality programming/ resources,
     staff recruitment (through a wage enhancement) and retention (through a new staff attraction incentive
     allowance),, and professional development of their staff. Programs that apply for the accreditation self-
     study have 15 months to complete the accreditation process. grant funding at enhanced rates is provided to
     accredited programs.

     To help child care programs reach their accreditation goal, ACS contracts with the Alberta Child Care
     Network Association to provide technical assistance to help child care programs work through each step in
     the accreditation self-study. Coaching services are provided through the Network partner, the Alberta
     Resource Centre for Quality Enhancement (ARCQE) to programs free of charge and include help with
     accreditation orientation sessions and support with checklists, the quality enhancement plan, the
     accreditation portfolio and child care workshops. ACS also contracts with the Alberta Association for the
     Accreditation of Early Learning and Care Services (AELCS) to evaluate child care programs against the ten
     quality standards of child care excellence.

     232 of Alberta’s eligible pre-school child care programs, or approximately 43% (232/545) are accredited
     with another 289 programs working toward that goal! In Grande Prairie and area, there are six licensed day
     care centres, two of which are accredited. There are also two family day home agencies, both of which are

                                       For more information on the accreditation of child care programs in
                                       Alberta, visit

                                                                          Linda Yurdiga
                                                                          Senior Manager
                                                                          Centrally Delivered Child Care Services
                                                                          Alberta Children’s Services

GPRC Department of Human Services Newsletter                             Issue 2                      March, 2008
                          Making A Difference

                         Early Learning & Child Care

                              Teacher Assistant

                                                       For More Information Contact:

                                            Department of Human Services
                                      Phone: (780) 539-2750   Fax: (780) 539-2751

“Trained professionals make a difference in the lives of children, youth, persons with disabilities, families & society

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