My name is Sammi and my college journey with Stenberg began in March 2018 with the Early Childhood Education (ECE) program. After graduating from this program as Valedictorian, I still had a strong desire to learn and decided to continue my education. I began the Early Childhood Education-Post Basic (ECE-PB) program at Stenberg in March 2019 and graduated this past October as a Student of the Year Finalist for both programs!
How I became an Early Childhood Educator
The passion for teaching children has been instilled in me since I was young, as I come from a large and very close family from Saskatchewan. I’m the oldest of three siblings and countless cousins, so I was always watching over all the little ones while growing up.
I moved to the Lower Mainland in January 2017 to be a live-in nanny. At the time, I had the educational equivalent of an Early Childhood Education Assistant. Once I completed my nanny position, I planned to return to work in a childcare centre but I didn’t have the necessary education required to work in the position I wanted. Since my nanny job came with plenty of flexibility, I felt like it was the perfect opportunity to return to school. So I did and enrolled in the Early Childhood Education program at Stenberg.
I can’t stress enough how much I enjoyed the ECE program with Sharmaine Kamwere as my instructor. She went above and beyond to ensure that the students in her class were well educated and prepared to be the kind, passionate, and loving ECEs the world needs. I truly believe I am the educator I am today because of her teachings and kindness.
The ECE Post-Basic experience
The Post-Basic program with Sharon Mitra was very intriguing and I came out of it a stronger woman. I will say that online learning was a struggle. I went into it knowing that it would take self-discipline as well as time-management skills and felt confident that I had what it took. But I quickly realized that nothing could have prepared me for the workload. It consumed my life — I cried, lost sleep, had headaches and a sore neck from staring at the computer, went through many highlighters, and bought a bigger bag to accommodate the textbooks that I took everywhere with me as I spent all my time reading chapter after chapter. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, it was exhausting and there were days I didn’t think I would survive.
At this point, I’ve probably scared you and you’re thinking, ‘Why in the world would I take the course and put myself through all that stress?’ Well after everything is said and done, it was 100% worth it and I would do it all over again. By the end, I’d learned so many fascinating things and felt a whole new level of accomplishment! Since graduating, I find myself missing being in class and learning new things. Now that I’m not studying, I spend most of my free time on Pinterest making more resources.
The program prepares you for life in the field
During the program, you will have assignments to create resources such as felt board stories, puppets, finger plays, a binder of children’s songs, etc. These will be crucial to your success with the children (they love these!) and will make your life easier when prepping for circle time.
Also, if you’re anything like me and enjoy being creative (which, let’s be real, all ECEs have a creative side!), you will fall in love with making felt board stories and enjoy watching the children fall in love with your creations. Presenting these assignments in front of your classmates will also ease your anxieties about performing in front of children, and you will leave the course feeling like a professional storyteller and singer!
Another bonus is the opportunity for being offered a position where you complete your practicum. Many of my classmates, including myself, were given this opportunity.
Getting your diploma opens many different opportunities
If you’re interested in working with infants or children, having the qualifications and education is an asset. It gives you a deeper understanding of children including their development, how to be inclusive, communicating with parents, and knowledge on the resources available to families and educators.
I love working with infants and found this program to be fascinating and crucial. It gave me a better understanding of their milestones and how to plan and implement activities to help them reach those milestones. I could go on forever about the benefits and perks of being an ECE as I love my job and find it incredibly rewarding. I was given a great opportunity to work in an infant room at the CEFA where I completed my practicum and I couldn’t be happier about the path I chose and where I am in life today.
Every day, when I walk into work, bombarded with hugs from “my babies”, I am reminded how blessed I am and how all the stress, tears, sleepless nights, countless hours studying, and weekends I missed out on being in class were all worth it.