“A lot of people think that we’re just here to play [and change diapers] they forget that we’re actually here to teach.”
– Preschool Teacher
One of the best decisions I ever made in my life was withdrawing from an undergraduate in Human Resources Management and going on to study Early Childhood Education (ECE). It was 8 years ago, September 2012, when my journey to become an ECE began and I walked into my first class at George Brown College. While it was an average class size of about 30 students, one of the first things I realized was that most of the class consisted of female students. This was something that had stuck with me throughout my academic career.
To give you an idea of what the Early Childhood Education program was like for me at the time…
Year 1, Semester 1: The first 7 weeks of the program began in class, where I was enrolled in about 7 courses. The following 7 weeks were spent out at a field placement where I would gain valuable, hands-on experience working and learning alongside my host-teacher. A host-teacher works at the placement site, guides you throughout your placement experience and is responsible for your evaluations. My first placement experience was working at a childcare centre with school-age children enrolled in an after-school program. Since placements generally consist of full 8-hour days, I worked in the preschool classrooms until my group of children arrived at the after-school program at the end of their school day.
Year 1, Semester 2: Once that placement was completed, it was back to class for another 7 weeks. My first year of the program would end with another placement which was working entirely with preschoolers. In between my 7 weeks of classes and 7 weeks at placement was one week off, commonly known as Reading Week. I’m grateful and lucky to have had that time to travel.
Year 2, Semester 3: My second year began the same way my first did. Seven weeks in class followed by 7 weeks in the field. By this point, I was at my third placement at a Lab school with infants. A Lab school has high expectations as it is operated in association with a college or university. I had never worked with infants prior to this placement but in the end, it was by far my most challenging and rewarding one.
Year 2, Semester 4: After my reading week, I returned to class for another 7 weeks and my final placement was working in a full-day kindergarten classroom within the Toronto Catholic District School Board. Once the program was completed, I registered with the College of Early Childhood Educators to be able to practice formally as a Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE). Not too long after I graduated in April of 2014, I began working at a childcare centre with toddlers and preschoolers.
My academic career wouldn’t end there as I went on to complete 2.5 years of the Honours Bachelor of Child Development (BCD) degree program at Seneca College.
Having completed my ECE, I entered the fourth semester of the BCD degree program which is why I only had to complete 2.5 years of the 4-year program. The learning I gained in this program opened my eyes to a whole new depth of childhood and child development; from studying about children’s emotional well-being, to brain research and cognitive development, to screening and assessment tools and so much more. My whole understanding, approach and attitude towards the field was shaped drastically by everything I had learned in this program. I ended the BCD program having completed a research study titled, “Job Satisfaction Amongst Male ECE’s and Primary School Teachers”. Having realized how few males there were in both of the two programs I had been in and within the field itself, I had set out to uncover and learn the reasons why by interviewing men who were working as an early childhood educator or a primary school teacher about their level of job satisfaction in their role. Hats off to all the male educators who are working and making a difference in this profession!
My journey to becoming an Early Childhood Educator, followed by a Bachelors in Child Development was such a rewarding and enlightening experience for me, and I’m so grateful for all that I’ve learned from the children, families and educators at placements and from working in the field. For me, this is a journey that will never be over because I believe there is always room for growth and new experiences. This year, I obtained a certificate of completion for the Self-Reg in Early Childhood Development Program and I’m currently working towards completing a Self-Reg Facilitators course. I currently teach and inform educators about the importance of early childhood experiences, brain development, understanding self-regulation, stress and so much more. There really is no end to the learning of an educator as this is a field that is always changing. I’m so glad to have been able to make the choices in my life that allowed me to find the profession that I’m passionate about and proud to be apart of. Much love and appreciation goes out to my family who has always and continues to support me along my path.
Best of luck to all those studying to become Early Childhood Educators. May your passion for children and the profession grow stronger each day.
This website is provided only for informational purposes and not intended to be used to replace professional advice, treatment or professional care. Always speak to your physician, healthcare provider or pediatrician if you have concerns about your own health or the health of a child.