Fernie childcare program welcomes a fresh face

New early childhood education teacher Jennifer Sehacker joins the Fernie College of the Rockies faculty. - S. Kucharski
New early childhood education teacher Jennifer Sehacker joins the Fernie College of the Rockies faculty.
— image credit: S. Kucharski

The College of the Rockies Fernie campus is hoping to promote their early childhood education program by bringing in a fresh face to teach.

Instructor Jennifer Schacker will be leading a childcare health, safety and nutrition course this fall. Sehacker began her career putting on preschool reading programs out of libraries in small communities and shortly after began teaching kindergarten.

With 15 years of experience, she said she’s ready to inspire others to join the field.

“I really want people to take the course so they can learn that by teaching children it’s the most challenging, but rewarding, position you can have and you’re going to have a significant, and hopefully positive, influence on children’s lives,” Sehacker said.

Campus manager Anita Palmer said that this move is meant to try and solve the childcare shortage problem in the Elk Valley.

“Part of the issue is attracting people to the field of early childhood education,” explained Palmer, citing inadequate pay as a possible reason for why people don’t join the field. She noted that there could be a lot of interest in childcare and children, but not enough to draw them into creating a career out of it.

Both Palmer and Schacker are adamant, though, about the rewarding experience the career can bring.

“I believe that the quality of education a person receives in early life is indispensible in bringing out that child’s potential,” Schacker noted. “Every child is worth putting all your effort into.”

Palmer is hoping that the Fernie program will receive a response similar to the overwhelming one Cranbrook’s program received, where their full-time online course quickly filled up.

“The uptake at [the Cranbrook campus] this year has been received really well,” said Palmer. “It’s not even an option to do it online anymore because there aren’t anymore spots.”

The Health, Safety & Nutrition course will run from September 4 to December 11 in the evenings at the Fernie Campus and is open to high school graduates with a minimum grade of 65 per cent in English 12 or equivalent.

If the course’s 16-seat capacity fills up as Palmer hopes it does, more classes will be added in the spring.

For full eligibility details including application fees and tuition, visit

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