Gerrie Prymak

Gerrie Prymak’s educational work has been rooted in Winnipeg, where she was born and has lived most of her life in. She graduated in 1974 from the University of Manitoba with a B.H.Ec. in Nutrition and she received her teaching degree in 1978. Until her retirement, Gerrie taught for 28 years in the elementary grades at the River East Transcona School Division. Her philosophy centred on the Inquiry approach to learning, reading quality books to children, encouraging good citizenship, and doing what is meaningful and purposeful for children. A lover of the visual arts, Gerrie worked with colleagues and parents at the Prince Edward School to implement the ArtsSmarts Program which brought Winnipeg artists and children together. Staff at Prince Edward remember Gerrie and her children painting giant murals in the hallways with Richard Manookeesick and building child size sculptures with clear packaging tape with artist Bud Gilles!
Gerrie has been a member of CAYC since 1998. She served as the CAYC Manitoba Director from 2003-2009 and continues to serve on the CAYC Manitoba working team. During her time as Manitoba Director, she organized two exceptional special events. For National Children’s Day, November 20th, Ball Room Dancing at the Lieutenant Governor's House was organized. This was a wonderful success for the children and the adults who participated.  The second event, Ice Venture, gave underprivileged children in Winnipeg an opportunity to skate at the MTS Centre and take home a pair of ice skates for future skating.  

Gerrie is CAYC MB's representative on the Manitoba Provincial Healthy Child Advisory Committee. While volunteering at Healthy Baby at the Indian Metis Friendship Centre Gerrie and staff listened closely and carefully to the parents' request for an early childhood hub for the tots and families to play and learn together. They had no place to go after they graduated from Healthy Baby.  From 2007-2010 Gerrie wrote many funding applications and received grant funding to keep the Turtle Island Tots and Families program viable until sustainable funds were secured.  As well, Gerrie is a council member of Coffey ECD Fund.  Since its inception in 2009, this endowment fund has financially supported over 7 Early Childhood programs for babies to 4 year olds and their parents/caregivers in Winnipeg.
Gerrie leads by doing. She is persistent and asks tough questions, such as; if we really value children in Canadian society, how can our actions demonstrate that? What actions can we take today? Her grassroots approach inspires many to believe that all things for the very young are possible when we work as a team. Without a doubt, Gerrie is a friend of children. 

Nominated by Beth Warkentin