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Staff

Acorn Daycare is proud to be led by staff that have been honoured with a Prime Minister's Award for Excellence in Early Childhood Education. This certificate of achievement honours outstanding early childhood educators who excel at fostering the early development and socialization of the children in their care.

All permanent staff members at Acorn Daycare are trained in the principles and practices of Early Childhood Education (E.C.E), possess current licenses to practice and up-to-date First Aid Certification that are posted in the Centre. All staff are members of the B.C. Government Employees Union. Each staff must renew their license periodically and attend a designated number of hours in workshops and courses to maintain licensure.

Staff members work shifts that ensure legal and appropriate teacher/child ratios. All staff members are screened upon application and undergo a Canada-wide criminal record search conducted by the office of the Attorney General.

Substitute Staff

Substitute staff is hired for short-term replacement of permanent staff, for leaves related to sickness, vacation, administration, professional development, etc. Substitutes are required to have a clear criminal record and qualifications as required by the provincial childcare regulation.

Staff Bios

Daphne Sweeney

Senior Early Childhood Educator

Daphne has been the manager of the Daycare for the past 30 years. While she takes care of the day to day running of the Daycare she enjoys the collegiality of the Acorn team who have worked together for many years. Daphne is committed to providing a high quality Early Childhood Education program and was recognized by the Prime Minister's office when she was awarded a Prime Minister's award for excellence in Early Childhood Education, Certificate of Achievement. Daphne is proud of and enjoys the strong community of Acorn families, past and present, who have demonstrated their enduring support and friendship. Daphne is married and has four grown children who all benefited from attending Acorn Daycare.


Prime Minister’s Award

Gayle Kelly

Early Childhood Educator

Gayle joined the Acorn Family 25 years ago after a serendipitous practicum placement while completing the Early Childhood Program at Langara College. During the past 25 years, Gayle has enjoyed sharing her love for Art, Literature and Music with the many children who have become part of our Acorn Family. Dedicated and passionate, Gayle spends countless hours planning and executing curriculum for the center. When she's not enticing children to a fun art activity, she can be found decorating the bulletin boards, leading Circle Time and Bon Jovi Dance Parties or photographing the children for the Memory Books they receive to chronicle their time at Acorn. When not at work, Gayle enjoys her time with her husband, three grown children and close friends.

Kelly Askari

Early Childhood Educator

Meet Kelly, one of the early childhood educators at Acorn 8 Oaks. With a passion for early childhood education, Kelly serves as a key player in creating a nurturing, inclusive, and meaningful environment for children to build friendships and learn through play. Kelly started her journey at Acorn in 2015 as a practicum student. After graduating, she had the opportunity to become an educator at Acorn and has not looked back since! With her certification in Infant/Toddler and Special Needs, alongside 7 years of experience working with children aged 2-5, Kelly is dedicated to guiding and supporting the diverse needs of every child under her care. She takes pride in creating an atmosphere where children feel encouraged to freely express themselves, fostering curiosity and a love for exploration.

Outside of the classroom, she enjoys spending time with her loved ones, attending concerts and stand-up comedy shows, and is a huge fan of Formula 1, combat sports, and football!

Justine Kelley

Early Childhood Educator

Justine rejoined the team as a full time staff member in June of 2022. She has since completed her ECE certification as of December 2023. Although she is the most recently certified staff she has been a long standing member of the Acorn family. After attending Acorn as a child, she then came back for volunteering and subbing over the last 15 years, which has afforded her an invaluable amount of hands on experience with the 3-5 age group.

"I believe in organic play-based learning and letting children explore the world around them. I take pride in being an educator and facilitating the children I am working with through discovery, learning new skills, building friendships, forming effective communication and most importantly, having fun!"

When she is not at Acorn she enjoys spending time with her friends and family. She also has a passion for photography which she uses to capture each Acorn's experiences over their time at the center. You will see much of her work through the Instagram account or after graduation from Acorn on the pages of their Goodbye Book.