It is no secret Beulah Munson loves children.
The early childhood education coordinator for School District 27 has spent 30 years working in the field and has three adult children of her own and three grandchildren.
Plus, Munson and her husband Garry Smith are foster parents and are presently raising a four-year-old girl they received into their home two days after she was born.
They have had more foster children but presently have just one full-time, while offering respite and short-term placements for foster children whenever needed.
“I love being instrumental in how children learn,” Munson said during an interview at her office at SD27 Student Support Services next to Cataline Elementary School.
Her office was crowded with supplies for the upcoming 3 Year Old Round Up taking place in Williams Lake on Saturday, Sept. 24 and in 100 Mile House on Saturday, Oct. 1.
Early intervention can make a difference in a child’s development which is why Munson along with Ready Set Learn and the Early Childhood Development Network Williams Lake are hosting it.
An annual event, the purpose of the 3 Year Old Round Up is to provide parents with the opportunity to check in and see how their three-year-old is doing developmentally.
Parents are required to bring their child to Interior Health at 18 months for immunization and a check up and then not again until kindergarten.
“They are missing two critical years to assess speech delay, hearing or dental health,” Munson said. “We provide some tools for families.”
At the free roundup, which goes from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., parents will be able to access information from StrongStart, Pregnancy Outreach, Child Care Resource and Referral, Cariboo Regional District library, Interior Health audiology, Jordan’s Principle, Denisiqi Services Society, Child Youth and Mental Health, Williams Lake Optometry, Interior Health Dental Care and Cariboo Chilcotin Child Development Centre.
There will also be a winter fest in Williams Lake and 100 Mile House geared to families with young learners and returning next year will be the popular shipwreck event which took place at Scout Island in Williams Lake and at Centennial Park in 100 Mile House.
“It was super popular and we saw an increase in fathers participating,” Munson said of the shipwreck event which saw children locate treasures in order to redeem prizes.
Born in Kamloops, Munson grew up one of five children. She began working in childcare at the age of 18 and continued working while attending university to pursue a degree in early childhood education. One of the childcare centres she worked at provided 24-hour care. In Chase she owned and operated a pre-school and later ran a family childcare centre in her home.
In 2007 the family moved to McLeese Lake and she took an hiatus from working and home-schooled her children Apryl, Amanda and Anthony all with the last name Soichuk.
By 2011/2012 she returned to work for the Women’s Contact Society and in December 2018 was hired by SD27.
There used to be two positions, but last year it was reduced to one and Munson is committed to being inclusive of the entire district as she moves forward.
Apryl is following in her mom’s footsteps and has taken courses in early infant and toddler development. She works as the Aboriginal child development worker at Pregnancy Outreach in Williams Lake. Amanda works at Cariboo Dental where she is completing her courses toward becoming a dental assistant and Anthony is a third-year carpentry apprentice, having completed two years through the ACE IT Dual Credit Program in high school.
Munson and her husband enjoy the small town feel of Williams Lake and all the region has to offer with kayaking, skiing, bicycling, camping, snowboarding, fishing and hunting.
“I grew up in the Shuswap and still love it, but can remember trying to get on the highway for 25 minutes one time when we lived there. I am not a fan of big cities.”