The new executive director of the Lacombe Daycare Society is also new to the City of Lacombe—and she’s excited to be here. Erica Eshaghian moved to Lacombe and started her position with the association at the beginning of December.
“I look forward to immersing myself in the community and getting to know as much as I can about Lacombe and the people of Lacombe,” Eshaghian said, speaking about her new role.
Eshaghian came to Lacombe after leaving a director position at a French early childhood education centre in Prince Edward Island. Before that she worked at centres in Ontario.
Eshaghian has a diploma in early childhood education from Fanshawe College in London, Ontario.
“My passion was always to work in early childhood education,” she said. “I wanted to be in a smaller community that was accessible to larger communities and to be around my family.”
Eshaghian has been moving around Canada her whole life. She was born in Saskatchewan, moved to Manitoba, then to Ontario, and then to Prince Edward Island for work before arriving in Lacombe.
Eshaghian has several goals she hopes to achieve in her position, both within the society and through partnerships in the community.
The most longterm and ambitious goal is the creation of a new facility for the daycare as part of the Cranna Community Cultural Centre Initiative, known colloquially as the ‘C4 Initiative’. Eshaghian hasn’t had an opportunity to become involved in the planning yet, but she looks forward to being a part of the project as it moves forward.
In the interim, she has many projects planned for the association to help expand its role in the community.
“In the meantime we’d like to do some facility enhancements, some community outreach, partnerships with the community and with families and promotion of the centre,” she said. “And we’re always working towards best practices, developmentally appropriate practices, curriculum and pedagogy.”
In advance of a new facility being available as part of C4, Eshaghian said the association hopes to update their current facility with new flooring, painting, new equipment, new materials, improvements to the outdoor play area and increased storage.
Eshaghian said that while her earlier professional experiences are applicable to her new position, differences in the operation of early childhood education across Canada means there will be a learning curve as she adjusts to her new job.
“Early childhood education and being a director in centres all throughout Canada are different because we don’t have a universal early childhood education system, so that means that in Prince Edward Island and in Ontario and in Alberta, our policies and procedures are different,” Eshaghian said. “You get the experience from being a director in PEI that you can apply here through leadership and inspiring staff and working with children, but in terms of administration, it is different.”
She plans to tackle the differences by becoming as involved as possible in the local culture and community.
“One of the things I would really like to do while I am in Lacombe is get to know the community and immerse myself in the community of Lacombe, whether that be through partnerships with other organizations or just through meeting people,” she said.
Through this immersion she hopes to work with stakeholders in the City to create stronger connections between the daycare centre and the community.
“How we can grow, how we can increase enrolment, how we can work together, organize community events together and just link the community and the different organizations together?” Eshaghian asked. “Because we all have a really common purpose and there is a chain effect between all these organizations and if we work together then our community will work and build a stronger community for children and families.”
Even though she’s only a few weeks into her new role, Eshaghian has had positive experiences with groups around Lacombe who she will be working with to achieve her goals.
“I’ve been around to meet some people at City Hall and other organizations like FCSS [Lacombe and District Family and Community Support Services] and I find that there’s a very team-orientated community, that they work together to do what’s best for Lacombe as a whole.”