Emily Saundercook

What do you do at PSS and how long have you been here?  I am the educator for the Cedars class, this coming 2021-2022 school year. I started working with the school last spring and had the opportunity to learn from special moments spent in each of the classes throughout the school. I am looking forward to my first full year at PSS!

What initially attracted you to work at PSS and what do you value about working here now?  I was drawn to the community approach of PSS and the harmony that I felt when I went to visit the school.

Which educator has influenced you the most in your life, and how?  One of my University Professors influenced me in a very big way – as he empowered me to put down all the books and theories in education as an undergraduate student and make my own approach to teaching that I could believe in. He was an educator in an alternative school for 30 years in Montreal, mostly teaching geography, english and helping teens navigate challenging times.

What do you look forward to in your role here each year?  I am looking forward to learning from all the bright minds of the students and working in such a beautiful place, between the Pacific Spirit Forest and the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

What is an example of your approach to nurturing social, emotional, physical and intellectual learning in your work at PSS?  My approach to nurturing social, emotional, physical and intellectual learning at PSS involves creating opportunities for students to foster a growth mindset and step into leadership roles or step outside their comfort zones to explore new ways of being in the world. This past spring I oversaw students in a project to create garden beds, and another to create hyperlink video games. In both experiences, I provided information about the possibilities for each project and then stepped back and watched the students work individually and in small groups to accomplish the task. Allowing them space and freedom to explore, the students were able to complete many steps forward in their process of learning and feel supported by their peers and educators in the process. I am passionate about empowering students to build their confidence and trust in themselves in order to continue to learn and grow through life.

If you could bring anyone back to life and have dinner with them, who would it be?  My Grandmothers <3

What’s one item on your bucket list?  To go paragliding, but I might be too scared to do it.

What educational background, or ongoing professional development, do you draw upon in your work at PSS?  I have an undergraduate degree in Education and History from McGill and a Masters in Education Technology from UBC. I worked as a teacher for over 7 years, which includes a variety of experiences with the Mohawk Nation of Kahnawake, the Cree Nation of Northern Quebec, inner-city schools of Montreal and specialized schools for students with disabilities. I have 10 years of experience working with the Disabled Community of Montreal and during this time worked at Summit School in Montreal, collaborating with speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and physiotherapists, in order to provide optimal learning environments for our students. I have a Certificate in Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and continue to work towards reconciliation and being an environmental steward of the land.