By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – The Alberta Association for Community Living and the Canadian Association for Community Living have presented Morinville resident and Edmonton Public Schools teacher Meghan Loney with a National Inclusive Education Award.
Loney, who has lived in Morinville for 24 years, has been a teacher for the past five years. She currently teaches a combined Grade 1 and 2 class at Edmonton’s Beacon Heights School. She received the award for her commitment to inclusive education and was nominated by a parent who consulted with other parents about the nomination.
Loney said she felt honoured and touched when she learned she had won the award. “I felt blessed to be recognized for my work, and I work with an outstanding team who so deserves the recognition,” she said, adding over the past couple of years she has taught children with a variety of needs and has become a strong believer every child can be a member of a classroom community. “Through the support and teamwork of my educational assistants, colleagues, school, and parents I am able to create a classroom environment where I can teach to meet the needs of all learners. Doing research, and for the most part, being willing to try various teaching techniques such as technology, or adapting the curriculum and resources allows students to be and feel successful.”
Loney said classroom diversity is becoming commonplace today. “Classrooms are becoming more and more inclusive, and teachers work with children who have diverse needs everyday whether these needs are behavioural, learning, children who are learning to speak English, or children who have physical disabilities,” she said. “I feel the importance of successful inclusion is to communicate with parents, set achievable goals, and not be afraid to widen horizons, be willing to try new teaching strategies which might not look the same for every child.”
Loney’s parents Dale and Shirley Baumgartner were thrilled to learn her efforts were award worthy. “We are very proud of Meghan’s accomplishments as a teacher,” Dale Baumgartner said. “Meghan is such a hard working and caring person who puts her heart and soul into her profession and ensures that all of the children in her class receive a rewarding learning experience. This award is a result of all of her hard work and caring.”