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PLASP staff honoured for pioneering spirit in building inspirational learning environments

Lobna Ajaini receiving the Sylvia Leal Award

Eight years after trading in blueprints for building blocks, a PLASP staff has been honoured for applying her mechanical prowess in constructing enriching learning environments for children.

A mechanical engineer and university instructor from Syria, Lobna Ajaini found her true calling and passion in life through transitioning to a career in child care. She currently serves as a Program Director at PLASP’s Plowman’s Park location, where she combines science, technology, engineering and math concepts into many aspects of daily programming.

It was this unique passion for creating distinctive learning environments that led to her receiving the Sylvia Leal Memorial Award at PLASP’s annual parent and community meeting in October. Created in recognition of PLASP’s founding CEO Sylvia Leal, the award honours a PLASP staff who demonstrates exceptional leadership in supporting PLASP communities, families, children, fellow staff, colleagues and partners.

Each day, she applies the technical and solutions-based mindset of her former profession towards the constant challenge of keeping children engaged and involved in learning.

Within her program, she familiarizes children with basic mechanical concepts through introducing them to odds and ends like gears, wheels and spare parts from simple devices – some of which she brings from home. After sparking their interest in simple machinery, she guides children in learning how their mechanical concepts are used in machines, vehicles or devices they see every day. 

“I bring these to the children and I ask them ‘where have you seen this stuff?” she said. “I help them make the connection with what they have at home.”

A prolific social media personality, Lobna also uses digital technology to keep in constant contact with families and community partners on Twitter and Facebook. Among her many posts are photos of PLASP children building cardboard houses, making observations through microscopes, or learning about the anatomy of insects.

Lobna also serves as a support staff at PLASP’s EarlyON centre at Shelter Bay P.S., where she extends her passion towards building a strong, empowered community by working with local families who drop in on a daily basis, many of whom are newcomers.

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