The 19th Annual ECE Awards Celebration

Thank you to our Celebration Sponsors:

City of Brantford, Enterprise Brant and Grand Erie District School Board


Kids Can Fly has been promoting the wellness of children in Brantford Brant since 2001. One of our favourite ways to do this is by celebrating the people who invest in young children through our annual ECE Awards Celebration!

This year, we celebrated this incredibly important line of work with other like-minded individuals on November 2nd, 2023, at the TownePlace Suites.

Attendees enjoyed a fun and exciting “Hollywood Stars” theme, delicious food and a cash bar.

We are seeking sponsors for our 2024 event! Sign up or learn more about our fantastic sponsorship program at the link below.

Special thank you to our Awards Sponsors:

Kids Can Fly

Conestoga College

YMCA Child Care

Lansdowne Children’s Centre

The Corke Family

The Dey Family

Fostering Brant’s Growth in Early Learning Sub Committee of Best Start

EarlyON Community Living Brant

Wee Watch Licensed Home Child Care

Congratulations to the 2023 Winners:


Donn Zver “Love of Reading” Award: Regina Jetleb

Early Learning Award of Excellence: Valerie Tansley

Early Learning Spirit Award: Karrie-Anne LaCombe

Making Every Kid Matter: Amber Gibbons

Nancy Corke “Joy of Nature” Award: GROWE Outdoor School

Parents Choice Award: Sue Taylor

Resiliency Award: St. George Children’s Centre

Rising Star Award: Bethany Taite

Sharon Brooks Leadership Award: Jennifer Dawson

Wee Watch Commemorative Memorial Award: Kathy Rennie

Congratulations to the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Recipients:

Michelle Hill and Shannon Wood earned their 20-Year Pins!

Audrey Thompson and Robyn Berardi earned their 30-Year Pins!

Maria McCann, Valerie Rosebrugh and Sherry Lickers were recognized for 40 years of service!


This peer-nomination award recognizes an early learning postsecondary student who embodies and demonstrates the professional image and values of an early childhood educator through their actions and character.

Award: Basket of Teaching Resources & Certificate
Sponsored by: EarlyON Community Living Brant
Recipients: Individual (Early Learning Student)


This award will recognize an outstanding individual who is working to nurture and promote the love of reading within young children. The winner demonstrates a commitment to expand children’s access to books, encourages reading and literacy activities and/or encourages families to participate in events or programs which provide literacy related experiences. They may be working front line with children and their families or be involved with a planning board, service club or agency whose goal is to raise awareness of the importance of early literacy. This award was created in honour of Donn Zver, whose ongoing contributions to children’s literacy is celebrated by Kids Can Fly.

Award: $100 & Keepsake
Sponsored by: Kids Can Fly
Recipient: Individual


This prestigious, peer-nominated award recognizes the exceptional contributions of a Registered Early Childhood Educator. The recipient is inspirational in their work with children, families and community. They embody and exemplify excellence by upholding and surpassing the values, integrity and fine attributes of the Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics of an Early Childhood Educator. Through their dedication and skill, they motivate, empower and engage others.

Award: $300, Certificate & Plaque
Sponsored by: Conestoga College
Recipient: Individual (RECE)


This peer-nominated award is open to volunteers, foster parents, centre staff other than ECE’s, librarians, assistants, board members, etc. This award recognizes an individual whose work makes a significant difference in the lives of young children, families and/or colleagues, through their daily contributions.

Award: $100, Certificate & Keep Sake
Sponsored by: YMCA Child Care
Recipient: Support Staff or Volunteers


This peer-nominated award recognizes a dedicated Early Learning Professional who demonstrates exemplary inclusive practices with young children.

Award: $100, Certificate, & Keep Sake
Sponsored by: Lansdowne Children’s Centre
Recipient: Individual


“Nancy enjoyed a career nurturing young children and was extremely passionate about sharing the joys of nature with them. This award has been created to honour her memory and to encourage us to follow her example.” This award recognizes a Centre or Program that demonstrates innovation to provide children with quality outdoor activities or experiences. Application must include photos as well as a write up explaining the details around the experience or learning opportunities and how they relate to nature for young children. Programs are welcome to nominate themselves.

Award: Certificate & $500 for Outdoor Programming
Sponsored by: the Corke Family
Recipient: Program


This parent/caregiver-nominated award recognizes an individual who demonstrates exceptional caring, compassion, empathy, and acceptance to children and their families.

Award: $100 & Keepsake
Sponsored by: The Dey Family
Recipient: Individual


This celebratory award is open to both individuals and programs. As such, self-nominations are welcome. The Resiliency Award celebrates incredible demonstration of innovation, tenacity and resiliency. Nominations will need to outline the details of the adaptability and innovation of the individual or group.

Award: $100, Certificate & Keepsake
Sponsored by: Fostering Brant’s Growth in Early Learning Sub Committee
Recipient: Program or Individual


This award is presented to a person who has shown exemplary commitment to the wellbeing of young children through early childhood education and/or through the support of families. The ideal candidate has shown leadership within their organization, business, and/or community, and has used research, innovation, and creativity to propel their cause. This award was created to promote leadership and innovation in the children’s wellness sector in appreciation for the extraordinary 21-year legacy of Sharon Brooks, the Founder & Executive Director of Kids Can Fly from 2001 – 2022.

Award: $100, Certificate & Keepsake
Sponsored by: Kids Can Fly
Recipient: Individual


This important award is made in memory and of home childcare providers who have passed away who embraced and were dedicated to their role, and a loving imprint in the lives they touched. This award is presented to someone who is affiliated with a licensed agency and demonstrates the characteristics of: energy, enthusiasm and embraces the “How Does Learning Happen?” pedagogy while providing healthy home environment and tender loving care to the children and families they touch.

Award: Certificate & Early Learning Gift Basket
Sponsored by: Wee Watch Licensed Home Child Care Brantford Brant
Recipient: Licensed Home Childcare Provider

For a downloadable list of all awards, please visit the link below.

20, 30 and 40-Year Lifetime Achievements

20 and 30-Year Pins are a wonderful way to commemorate decades of service to the early childhood education field. Celebrate 40 years of service with a certificate and dedicated page in our print program.

Lifetime Achievement Awards are self-nominated.

Special thanks to our Expression Sponsors: Brant Haldimand Norfolk District School Board and Wee Watch Licensed Home Care