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What we love most about our work are the people we work with. We’re very proud of our natural play community here at Natural Pod and to celebrate some of the people in our community, we’ve started a short series we’re calling our Natural Play Community People Profiles. Short interviews with some of the great people leading the work of using natural play to inspire creativity, learning and compassion in our early learning, kindergarten, preschool and daycare communities.

Our featured Natural Play Community People Profile of the week is: Trudi Hobson from the Shuswap Children’s Association

What inspired you to be an educator?

I cannot ever remember “not” wanting to have some type of career with children. When I graduated from high school (almost 35 years ago), I went to my local college to sign up for the Early Childhood Educator course and the counsellor advised me that I really should become a teacher. So I became a teacher with a major in ECE. Although I have worked in the public school system, my passion really always was the younger children so most of my career has been in the ECE field. The last 20 years I have been a Supported Child Development Consultant, which has been focused on helping children with extra support needs.

What are the most rewarding aspects of your work?

It is so exciting to be in this field right now. The science of brain development and what children “really need to grow and thrive” is finally catching up with what we as early childhood educators have known for a long time. WE NEED TO MOVE AND PLAY! As a Supported Child Development Consultant, I get to share what I am learning with others in the form of workshops, newsletters and day to day consulting. This year was particularly exciting, as I had the opportunity to work with 2 other awesome local Early Childhood Educators to administer a grant project in our community. We wanted to focus on encouraging local families to be Together, Relaxed, Unplugged and Exploring outside so we called it TRUE in the Trees. We adopted a local undeveloped park with a pond. We installed interpretive signs (aimed at young children) and a variety of permanent outdoor instruments. We celebrated the completion by having a “TRUE in the Trees Day” that brought 70 people out. We invited Bridgette from Natural Pod to speak to our Early Childhood Educators in the afternoon about the value of natural play environments. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed her presentation. What a great day!

What best describes the unique aspects of the program that you offer?

I am not presently working in a child care setting but visit them regularly. I often describe my job as being a detective. Trying to find the adaptations and resources that work best for a unique child, in a unique family, attending a unique setting. I could not imagine another job that suits what I love doing so well. I learn daily from others, like speech therapists, occupational therapists or behaviour therapists. Every day is different.

If you had a magic wand, what would you change in your learning environment?

If I had a magic wand, I would make sure that all early learning environments had the dollars and time to develop the programs they want, with the materials they need, and they would get wage they can survive on. Raising the level of respect and support for our Early Childhood Professionals would help attract and keep good people in our field. I can always hope.