MECE gatherings in Canada a great success

Ron Blatz - Executive Director

We just had our last MECE meeting last night. It’s the one attached to our local ECE Conference. It was an ;absolute brilliant night of sharing stories and reminding each other of our most important work. We were thrilled to have our Provincial Minister of Children and Youth Opportunities join us (see attached photo – the guy in the suit jacket) to inspire us and share how important the work that we do is to the children of Manitoba. There was some kind of magic in the air, so we are all very excited to keep meeting as a group. You may recognize our WoFo colleagues, Toni & Robin Christie from New Zealand who are here presenting at our conference. It made it extra special to have them here and giving a short report about the MeNZ (their mece group) work in their country.
 
Adam and I were so proud to host last night’s special meeting.

Ron Blatz
Executive Director
Discovery Children’s Centre Inc.

A great big “How are you, eh!” from Canada. Apparently we overuse that word “eh”…. is that really possible? Here in Winnipeg, it’s hockey season and the Winnipeg Jets are back on the ice so it is a very exciting time for our city. We are a bit hockey crazed it seems.
 
On the MECE front, I’d like to introduce myself to you, and also encourage you to come to Puerto Rico. I first attended a World Forum (WoFo) in Montreal Canada about 9 years ago and have not missed since. It is a special experience unlike any other conference I’ve attended, so I’m sure you too would find it worth the trip.
 
I myself manage a Non-Profit Child Care Centre with about 285 children ages 0 – 12 years. We are a bit unusual in that we are open 18 hours per day and 6 days a week, so yes it is a very busy schedule but I’ve absolutely loved the last 34 years that I’ve had the privilege of working with and around young children. In Canada I’m sure you will not find another centre with 10 men working in the same location like you do here at Discovery. It’s one of our strengths. 25% male staff is about 10 times the national average. It’s just so nice to know that there are great role models here, each and every day, for both girls and boys. Also it’s so nice to know that for the children that respond better to men, we have those, and for the ones that respond better to woman well… we have those as well. I’m also a big fan of having younger and older staff represented in our centre, as they too bring significant differences and perspectives. Presently we have 6 grandparents (including me) that work at Discovery, cool eh! A few years ago I also started a local MECE (Men in Early Childhood Education) group and we meet regularly to connect males who work in our field and to try to keep the issue in the forefront of people’s minds, for the betterment of children. I’ll attach our brochure for you to read.
 
The World Forum (through one of their working groups the Nature Action Collaborative for Children - NACC) www.worldforumfoundation.org/working-groups/nature has also been one of the biggest ongoing inspirations and influencers in my work over the last 9 years. Discovery Centre is on the lead edge here in Canada regarding the movement to reconnect children with nature. We have made great strides in improving the lives of young children by getting them outdoors more often and ensuring they have frequent, sustained, and high quality experiences with nature. I’d sure like to chat with you about your interest and journey in this area sometime, and Puerto Rico would be a great place to do that. About 4 years ago myself and 2 friends started a nature group called Manitoba Nature Action Collaborative for Children –MNACC. This group gets together 4-5 times per year and the 30 – 120 early childhood folks that show up, share their successes and failures, joys, inspirations, and journeys in the world of nature and children. It’s been one of the most enjoyable parts of my work in the last years. So many benefits for children. 3 years ago one of my staff decided she wanted to take her preschool group out for a whole two weeks (6:30 AM – 6:00 PM). They ate, slept, played learned, grew, and shared experiences like never before. This lead to a challenge being put out to the community, and this summer over 33 programs in our region joined in on the Two week Outdoor challenge. I’ll attaché a brochure we made to help promote it. It has been such an eye opener for ECE’s, most who will never go back to the stay inside as much as you can approach that most Canadian centres seem to adopt.
 
I’ll leave it at that for now. Hope you drop me a line once in a while. If you wish, I could add your name to my MECE and MNACC group e-mail lists and perhaps you might find the e-mails that I send out informative and encouraging. Just let me know if you want to be included.

"Men Need Women - Women Need Men - Children Need Both"  www.worldforumfoundation.org/men
 
Ron Blatz
Executive Director

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