10 Things you may not know but be interested in learning about ARCQE’s Board Member…

Natalie Prytuluk, Vice Chair

  • I began my role as a Board member for ARCQE

four years ago and I’m still here!

  • What inspired my career in Early Learning?

I have always enjoyed young children: their spontaneity, joyfulness and presence. When I did my education degree, kindergarten had just been introduced in the province of Alberta, and teachers required an early childhood degree to teach a kindergarten program. The first school I taught at, Bellevue elementary, had a K-1-2 combined classroom.  I team-taught with another teacher, but that experience got me hooked on kindergarten.  I went back to University the following year to get my early childhood diploma and have been involved in early childhood education throughout my career, including a masters and doctorate degree that focused on early childhood research.

  • Most influential career learning I have had to date

I have been fortunate to have been an educator with Edmonton Public Schools for 33 years and have recently retired after a wonderful career.  I was honoured to have worked on developing the pre-kindergarten program which, at it’s peak, had 32 locations across Edmonton and supported many children and families, including newcomers, indigenous peoples or families who had children requiring specialized supports. Being part of developing a system of early intervention and excellent early childhood programming to support growth and learning of young children before they start kindergarten, was an incredibly powerful experience.

  • I was interested to serve as a volunteer Board member for ARCQE because

I have always appreciated the strong role ARCQE has played in supporting the professional growth of the early learning and care workforce across the province.  Having early childhood educators who are knowledgeable and skilled in working with young children and families, and who create quality learning environments, paves the way for young children to have a successful start in their school journey.

  • How has my role as a Board member for ARCQE benefited me personally…?

I have learned so much from my colleagues on the board, and from the ARCQE staff, about the child care world and the connections to the education world.  Being part of the ARCQE conferences and most notably, attending the New Zealand study tour, have enabled me to grow as a professional and expand my knowledge and understanding of how we can work together for the benefit of children and families and build a system of early learning and care.

  • Favourite leadership quote is….?

Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” (Desmond Tutu)

  • One thing you may not know, but would be interested to learn about me is….?

My other passion, besides early childhood education, is the arts: music, dance, drama, visual art and writing. In my education career I was also a music, dance and drama teacher, and found that children do have “a hundred languages (and a hundred, hundred, hundred more)” and the arts were a way for many children to find deep, joyful ways of expressing themselves.  The arts continue to be a very important part of my life.  I was a dancer with the Ukrainian Shumka Dancers for many years, and currently I play in a Ukrainian folk band called the “Broken Banjos” and sing with the Viter dance ensemble and folk choir.

  • In my spare time I like to….

In addition to my musical endeavours, I  enjoy writing, am an avid traveler and as of December have visited all 7 Wonders of the World, enjoy a  good book, love to garden and to spend time with my family and friends.

  • Proudest moment….?

There are so many things to look back on and feel good about, so it is difficult to choose one moment –I will say I am very proud of all that my nieces, nephews, godchildren and siblings have accomplished, I am proud of my husband and the life we have created, and I am proud to believe that things I have done in my career and my life, have made a positive difference to someone somewhere.

  • Someone who has been a memorable mentor to me is…?

I have been fortunate to have had many strong women mentors and leaders who influenced me along the way.  Among them are my first principal who taught me to never give up on a child and to have humor, another principal who taught me the power of respecting children’s voices and choices and to treat them as capable, strong individuals. And two leaders who showed me the importance of trusting others to do their best, that it’s okay to be vulnerable, inclusion matters, and how to advocate and to move ideas forward.