Working in ECEC

Tammy Ball

Tammy Ball: Early Childhood Manager, Bashaw and District Support Services, Bashaw, Alberta

In the town of Bashaw, Alberta (population 825), providing quality child care to families means looking for ways to be innovative and flexible.

As the Early Childhood Manager in the town, Tammy Ball is charged with doing just that. She manages Generations Day Care Centre; Bashaw and District Preschool (where she is also a facilitator); the town’s parent and tot program, Rattles and Rascals; and Pathways to Success, a project that aims to integrate services in the community for children 0 to 12 years of age over the next five years. Eventually, the hope is that services for everyone "from 0 to 99" will be in some way integrated.

It’s a challenge to serve the diverse child care needs of rural families.

"Not everyone works nine to five," says Ball. There are farm families, parents who work shifts in the town’s hospital, and those who work in the oil patch.

"We’re looking into out-of-the-box thinking, for example, considering home child care with qualified staff, or more flexible hours so it could be that the day care is open until 10 p.m. during haying because that’s what has to get done."

Ball received an early childhood development diploma from Red Deer College. The move to an administrative job after eight years of working on the floor as a daycare worker, preschool teacher, and special needs aid was hard at first, "but now it’s amazing because I have the opportunity to make a real difference."

Ball juggles a number of roles. She spends two days a week at the preschool. The rest of her time is spent planning, supervising staff and families, or meeting with community partners for the Pathways to Success Program. "A lot of my job is to get out into the community and meet people and that’s what I’m having the most fun with."

Ball is enthusiastic about the potential to have a positive effect on the lives of families in Bashaw. "I have an amazing opportunity now in my job to help develop services that are responsive to the community and that partner with others. I really believe there is a connection between quality child care and the health of communities."