NZTC builds early childhood education leadership skills in India
New Zealand Tertiary College graduate Saranya Thyagarajan believes leadership knowledge and skills are key to building “child-centred” early childhood education in India.
So, when she was promoted to Centre Manager at KiwiLearners, an India-based centre that uses the New Zealand early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki as its foundation document, Saranya decided to pursue NZTC’s Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Early Childhood Education) to upskill in areas that would support her promotion.
“The courses were really useful. I learnt new ways to work with families and different team members to get them on board with the centre’s vision. I really think I grew and built confidence as a leader.”
The online discussion forums, which make up part of the postgraduate qualification, allowed Saranya to discuss ideas with other students around the world and reflect on her practice.
Because, KiwiLearners’ child-centred approach to early childhood education is quite unique in India, where there is a strong emphasis on a structured learning environment, this community of like-minded professionals was especially valuable for Saranya.
“Professional childcare is a relatively new concept in India. Until recently, extended families (usually grandparents) looked after the children, so we didn’t need early childhood centres. When grandparents look after children you get warmth, love and caring. I believe centres should copy the environment of a grandparent’s home rather than set out to formally ‘teach’ children,” she said.
The NZTC postgraduate program not only taught Saranya leadership skills, it also provided her with material that helped her share the benefits of a child-centred approach to ECE practice with her staff and centre families.
“It was very satisfying to be able to use research and articles from the postgraduate diploma to back up Te Whāriki’s approach to child empowerment and lifelong learning. I found that sharing information with my staff and centre families really supported them to make a mindset shift in their approach to early childhood education,” she said.
After finishing her Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Early Childhood Education) through NZTC Online in India, Saranya decided to come to New Zealand to gain teacher registration. Currently based in Christchurch at EduKids Kilmarnock, she is the head teacher in the two to three-and-a-half year old room.
Her move has also enabled her to attend the NZTC Christchurch Graduation. An event cherished by staff and students alike. As a global student Saranya’s presence will be especially special as it will give her fellow students, lecturers and support staff a chance to meet with her face-to-face and celebrate her success.