A Halifax early childhood educator has earned a top spot on the prime minister’s awards list for excellence. Patricia Monaghan, who has worked in the field for more than 20 years, was among 10 early childhood educators from across Canada awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Early Childhood Education. Ms. Monaghan was honoured for her work with young children with special needs and her approach to teaching Chinese language and culture. She is the director/owner of the Magic Lady Bug Learning Centre, which offers a specialized Chinese language and culture program, along with art and music. Ms. Monaghan also co-authored the book Building Blocks: Strategies for Inclusion, a training program for early childhood educators that supports the inclusion of young children with special needs into daycares. She was not the only Nova Scotian early childhood educator honoured by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Patricia Thériault from the Centre Préscolaire de la Baie Sainte-Marie, Pointe-de-l’Église, was awarded with a certificate of achievement “I am very proud to join with the prime minister in congratulating these two women for demonstrating best practices in the care of young children and for their outstanding dedication to the children they care for,” said Community Services Minister Judy Streatch. The Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Early Childhood Education are designed to honour the overall accomplishments of a single educator or a team of up to three educators. The awards recognize the efforts of outstanding early childhood educators who excel at fostering the early development and socialization of the children in their care, and at helping build the foundation children need to meet life’s challenges. Recipients of the Prime Minister’s Awards are chosen by regional and national committees of early childhood education stakeholders.