Early Childhood Education (Diploma) - C100
Narmin Pirani was finishing her bachelor's degree in sociology when she took a job in a hospital child care centre to help pay her bills. That's where she found her true calling.
"I discovered that I loved working with little kids. It came naturally to me, and I knew it was the kind of job that I'd look forward to every day," she remembers.
Narmin knew she'd need training if she wanted to get serious. When she looked at the options, George Brown College's Early Childhood Education program interested her right away, particularly the seven weeks of in-class followed by the seven weeks of co-op.
"The courses at George Brown sounded more academic compared to the other ECE programs I was considering, but the main thing that appealed (to me) was the amount of field placement," says Narmin. "We learned how to handle every possible situation in the classroom, but then when you have to use that information for real, you discover all the things that can't be taught in a book. There's no better way to learn. "
Narmin credits her teachers for their personal investment in her success. "The teachers at GBC are fabulous. After spending time at university where teachers don't even know your name, it was refreshing to be able to just knock on their doors and talk to them if I had a question," she explains. "They really want you to succeed, and the whole ECE program is so supportive. Everyone helps each other out."
Narmin especially liked how the in-depth nature of the field placements allowed her to develop her own teaching style. Because one of the most important parts of teaching young children is being able to communicate to parents and caregivers how their child is progressing, she decided she would start taking pictures of students throughout their whole day and put them on a CD so that parents could visually experience their child's school life.
After taking part in the program's Jamaica Exchange Project where she had the chance to travel to Negril to work with local teachers and children, Narmin found that she returned to Toronto with even more passion for teaching.
"Even though they only had natural resources like rocks and leaves to learn with, the children there had so much enthusiasm - it taught me not to take anything for granted, and to really make the most of all the tools I have access to here."
Narmin is now using her education and resources to the fullest at the North Toronto Early Years Learning Centre, where she has just started work as an after-school and preschool teacher. "I have my own preschool class now. I'm teaching kids 18 months to two-and-half years, and it's really satisfying to help them with their first learning," she says. "Thanks to George Brown I've learned to think on my feet, and teaching toddlers, that's where I am most of the time!"