Working in ECEC

Bonny Harvey

Bonny Harvey
President, Board of Directors, the Preschool Centre
Fredericton, New Brunswick

Bonny Harvey says that she has peace of mind when she’s at work, knowing that her two sons are at the Preschool Centre.

Harvey is well positioned to know quality child care when she sees it. She is the centre’s board president, was previously a teacher there, and is now an early interventionist who sometimes transitions children into child care programs.

“I love it,” says Harvey, who is expecting her third child. “I keep having babies so I don’t have to leave!”

The Preschool Centre is a non-profit cooperative that offers group and family home child care, extended hours care, and welcomes children with special needs. It services between 500 and 600 children and always has a long waiting list.

“It’s welcoming, with a very friendly environment, well decorated and smells good. It’s exactly what it’s supposed to be.”

The board meets monthly to deal with all aspects of the centre’s operations—programming, special events, personnel issues, financial issues, fundraising, and any building concerns. A number of sub-committees meet on an as-needs basis.

As the centre’s employer, Harvey is in close contact with its administrators and coordinators in-between meetings, and signs the cheques for the bills and staff salaries.

Staff turnover at the centre is low and Harvey makes it a priority to ensure that their key role in providing quality care and their commitment are appreciated. The centre can’t count on sufficient revenue each year to guarantee a wage raise, but any year-end money left over is shared with the staff, and they receive bonuses on their anniversary dates. Harvey also organizes an annual staff appreciation supper.

To be a good child care centre board president requires “compassion and understanding about the multiple needs we service, and that not every parent will have time to contribute to the board. You also have to look at the bigger picture and be flexible. Just because you think something is best for your child, doesn’t mean it’s best for the whole classroom.”