Jenna Ripplinger, an early childhood educator (ECE) at Ehrlo Early Learning Centre (EELC), recently won the Saskatchewan Early Childhood Association 2022 Award of Excellence. She was recognized for her exemplary commitment to children’s early years and innovation in the field.
Karin Duff, director of early learning said, “The early learning educator is the heart of all high quality, inclusive programming. It’s Jenna’s ability to build respectful and trusting relationships with the children, families, and her peers that make her outstanding.
Karin thinks that Jenna’s approach to her work and everything she does demonstrates that the children’s well-being, education, and development are paramount. Karin believes that is the very reason that Jenna is so successful and the children in her care excel.
Karin added, “Jenna is very deserving of this award, and I extend my congratulations on behalf of myself, the Ehrlo Early Learning Centre staff, and the education division of Ranch Ehrlo Society.”
Jenna has worked at the EELC WF Ready location in Regina since March 2021 but her love of working with young children began early in life.
“Growing up I knew I wanted to work with children, maybe become a teacher like my Grandma S but my grades didn’t get me into the education program after high school,” Jenna said.
She decided to go to SIAST to earn the Educational Assistant Certificate. Afterward, she worked in elementary schools, but budget cuts had her once again looking for what she was going to do next.
After two years of hard work in the ECE program, she began her childcare journey in June 2012.
Jenna has worked with all age groups and diverse needs, but she feels that she excels in working with older preschool, kinder and school age.
She said, “I have the experience of working (in management) at other centres, but my heart is working on the floor with the children. I love watching the children grow and learn new skills, as well as planning a variety of fun and creative activities that follow the children’s interests and explore new areas. I know that I am where I am (supposed) to be.”
In regards to her award, she feels like there are not enough words to express the many thanks and appreciation.
She was shown letters that went along with her two nominations, and they brought her to tears with all the kind words.
She said, “I thought it was just me doing my job and nothing special but seeing me through their eyes showed me something different.”
She is thankful to all the amazing people she has worked beside who have helped mold her into the ECE she is today.
Jenna concluded, “To receive this award just sent me over the moon! I am honoured to have been chosen. I put my whole heart into my work, and I always hope it shows to the children and families – as they are who I am here for. I do my best to bring fun new experiences and will continue to do