Nicole Morrell, Johnstone and Pines Daycare co-ordinator in Red Deer, is one of the nine province-wide award recipients of the 2017 Child Development Professional Award of Excellence for demonstrating professional excellence in their work with children and families. The award was presented to her on Monday by Danielle Larivee, Minister of Children’s Services. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Red Deer Advocate

A Red Deer daycare coordinator wins provincial award of excellence

Nicole Morrell is a coordinator at Johnstone Daycare

A Red Deer Child Care coordinator Nicole Morrell is one of the nine recipients of the Child Development Professional Award of Excellence in the province this year.

Morrell, a Blackfalds resident, is a coordinator at Johnstone Daycare and Pines Daycare in Red Deer. The award that she won on Monday at the 12th annual event in Edmonton was in the leadership category and was presented to her by Minister of Children’s Services Danielle Larivee.

On Wednesday, speaking of her award, she said she has the best job in the world.

“It’s an honour and it’s not expected,” she said.

“When you go to work everyday and you love what you do and doesn’t feel like work — so to be recognized for it, it means a lot and I’m thankful.”

Speaking of the way she runs her day care centres, she can tell you, no two weeks are alike. For example, she remembers the time when kids learned about cupcakes and hockey in the same week because that’s what they wanted to do.

The 32-year-old said although the daycare staff has an idea of what children should do on any given day, it’s the kids who pick and choose the activities.

For example, when they want to learn how trees grow, the adults look up the theory portion along with the kids — as if they are learning the concept as well. Then, the teams go outside to get a more hands-on experience.

Morrell said there is a need for quality daycare in Red Deer and that’s why she runs her day cares differently. At Johnstone, for example, she and her staff of 13, help kids get lost in the flow of their interest and imagination.

“Getting this award to me is because of them (the staff) I’m lucky,” said Morrell, explaining her staff make it easy for her to become a leader.

Johnstone currently about 53 children enrolled and a one-year wait list.

The Blackfalds resident also got the new Pines Daycare centre going, which started Nov. 1. The facility has 18 children right now and she believes it will grow next year.

Morrell was nominated for the award by Sharleen Win, an administrator at Red Deer Child Care. She has been in the daycare and family services sector for the past 12 years.

Red Deer isn’t the only city that benefits from Morrell’s services. She offers her time at Alberta Resource for Quality Enhancement in Edmonton.

She also mentors post-secondary students at Red Deer College, where she is a part-time instructor and lends her experience to students pursuing daycare or any child and family service type of programs.

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