Self Reflection is good practice for all educators, and today we're glad to share the reflections of six different final semester ECE students. Hajra, Nikita, Shilpam, Raihana, Sangeeta and Maninder are all from Sheridan College; they had this to say about lessons they had learned from Field Placements,
"The topic we wanted to talk to you about is our personal experiences in our field placements throughout the years, what we have learned and how we have in-turn become better ECE’s!"
We are thrilled to share these questions, reflections, and stories.
On Mentorship - Nikita
“It is so important to have a good mentor as my first placement mentor was very supportive. She taught me how to be a better ECE. She supported me and guided me throughout my placement. She gave me really helpful advice such as how to solve problems with children, how to assist them, guide them and be there for them. It is so important as ECE’s to have mentors or someone who can help guide and support us to be better ECE’s. Professors in this field can be mentors as well. My very first placement was at a PLASP child care centre and my mentor was so helpful and supportive. Since that was my first placement, my experiences and what I learned really had an impact on me as an ECE and it is something that will stick with me forever.”
On Intentional Strategies - Maninder
"Throughout my past field placements, I have seen and learned how important of a role ECE’s play in the lives of children. I myself have learned how to be observant, how to create and implement activities based on children’s interests and I have learned to care for and be very cautious of children’s health, safety and overall well-being. One of the classes I took during the time I studied in the ECE program was an intentional strategies class. In that class, I learned different ways to communicate better with co-workers, parents, families, communities and fellow ECE’s. I also learned different strategies for problem-solving. Something I have observed in my placements a few times is how adults tend to be quick to jump in and help children when they face a problem. However, we should give children the time to solve a problem they face themselves and then, if needed, step in to assist them. Through the intentional strategies class, I have learned ways to assist children and help if they need it, whenever they face problems. I have learned to communicate better with children as well.”
On Professional Confidence - Hajra
“One of the main and most important things I have learned through all my placements is, of course, working with the children! I’ve learned that there is so much more to our profession. I’ve learned what it really means to work with children and how to do it. Through my placements, I have seen children as competent and capable human beings so with that, I have often let them free to explore things in whatever way they want. I think that’s really important too; giving children the freedom to explore the world around them however they want and at their own pace. I’ve learned how to communicate with children no matter their age. I’ve learned how to give children space and confidence to explore things themselves. In turn, I feel I have improved and grown as an ECE. I’m continuing to learn how to be a better ECE every day, but my placements have given me the experience and opportunity to learn all this hands-on. Like Nikita mentioned, I also had the utmost support from my mentors. One mentor, in particular, was someone really special to me and I learned a lot from them. They’re someone I will always remember. Having a good mento
is really helpful when learning to become a better ECE! I also wanted to just give some advice to anyone reading this that may want to, themselves, be better ECE’s at their placements, or someone who is starting placement for the first time; don’t feel nervous! Placements can always seem a little scary the first time, especially the thought of having a mentor aka someone who will keep on an eye on you and evaluate you. But I promise it’s nothing to feel nervous about. Don’t feel shy and just think of your mentor as someone there to help you and support you by your side. That is who they’re supposed to be! The main reason why you go through placements is to be with the kids themselves though. Whatever age group you’re working with, focus on going to placement to work with them. Allow the children to be your focus and your goal of becoming a great ECE! :)
On Professional Respect - Shilpam
"I have seen a big difference when I was working in childcare centres vs when I worked in school settings. The way ECE’s are treated is so different. There is a big difference in the way parents see ECE’s in two different settings. In child care centres, ECEs are considered as service providers who are there to meet the parent's needs. Whereas in school settings they get a lot more respect. My question is, is it because they are in a school board that they get more respect? It is because they work with the government that they get that respect?”
On Positive and Supportive Environments - Raihana
“Working in a positive environment boosts our confidence and helps us grow more in our profession. I have worked and experienced in three different environments as a placement student. I gained my self-confidence and how to be a role model ECE for children through my third placement because of the positive and supportive environment of the center. I learned about the importance of teamwork and positive relationships with our colleagues and how they affect the quality of our work with children. When we have team support we can focus more on working for the need and development of children. My mentor also taught me, to build positive relationships with children, we need to show them that we care about them with our words and action to get their trust. I believe and I did experience that environment plays an important role in our field as an ECE.”