Profiles of Indigenous Educators banner

Cheryl Lynn Dyck

May 2024

Cheryl Lynn Dyck photo

  • Home Community:
    Winnipeg MB, from Treaty 5 God's Lake Narrows MB
  • Cultural Identity:
    Swampy Cree
  • Current Position:
    Early Childhood Educator (ECE II) at Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Child Development Centre
  • Education/Training:
    I graduated in 1989 from Technical Vocational High School with a Dual Diploma in Academics and Early Childhood Education (Classification as an ECE II). I was lucky to be a part of the last graduating class of the Early Childhood Learning Dual Diploma program offered by Red River College (RRC Polytech) in partnership with Tec Voc.
  • Roles/Responsibilities:
    My most important role has been being a mother, a foster mother, an auntie, a sister and I look forward to being a nohkom someday (I keep telling my daughter her cats are not quite the same as grandchildren, lol). I have provided inclusive care and support as an ECE II to many children and their families over the past 35 years.

    I continuously develop and implement age-appropriate activities for children, we also implement specific activities that integrate Indigenous culture to the children, such as: drumming, music, jigging, singing, books, language, teachings, animals, smudging etc. I work as a team member and leader at times (taking on the Center's Director role when needed). Maintaining good relations and communication with staff and parents is significant to me.
“When you do what you love, and love what you do, it brings out the best in you.”

What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
My mother was a Residential School Survivor, who worked hard and became a nurse in Winnipeg. She unfortunately passed when I was young and was not able to pass on any Indigenous knowledge and had no one else to teach me.

As someone who did not grow up with my culture, I found it challenging and overwhelming at times, especially coming into an Indigenous led organization and having that lack of cultural knowledge. My coworkers were a huge support in teaching and empowering me, always willing to share their knowledge and answer my questions. I am still learning to this day and continue to have their support and encouragement.

What or who inspired you to really go after the profession you are in now?
I always enjoyed working with children, I was always the family babysitter and enjoyed being with my nieces and nephews. My school counsellor at Technical Vocational High School suggested I take Early Childhood Education and I graduated as an ECE II in June 1989.

What critical choices or decisions did you make that helped you get where you are today?
After high school, I was offered a part-time position at a daycare centre where I completed my practicum. I found that I enjoyed working in this role; there was always so much to do, and the days were always different. I then began full-time as an ECE II and worked with preschool children for 11 years. It was not until I had my daughter, I realized I also enjoyed working with younger children. I then had the opportunity to work with younger children. I have now been working with infants and toddlers for 23 years. After 35 years as an ECE, I still enjoy what I do.

Message of Encouragement:
It is important to love what you do, when you find what you enjoy and are passionate about, it doesn't feel like work. When you do what you love, and love what you do, it brings out the best in you.