Name: Sacha Cherrington
NZTC Qualification: Master of Early Childhood Education
What motivated you to pursue a career in early childhood education (ECE)?
I have always held an affinity towards education, especially for our Māori tamariki. I began my journey as a youth worker in Lower Hutt and moved down the ages as my career moved up. As my tamariki entered Te Kōhanga Reo, I saw how continued development and learning in these early years affected their growth towards further education in a wonderful way. I was often left in awe, and I knew I had to have a more definitive role in these wonderful moments in time.
Tell me about your role and responsibilities at the Ministry of Education.
I work as an Education Adviser for the Ministry of Education in Te Tai Tokerau, working in communities to assist and empower whanau to engage in ECE services. My role is exciting as I am able to visit communities, whanau, puna kōhungahunga (Māori language groups), playgroups and projects across Te Tai Tokerau. My role allows me to discuss early childhood needs and wants within each community and convey this back to the services and Ministry. Nāku te rourou, nau te rourou, ka ora te iwi!
How has your career progressed to end up in such a highly sought after position?
Part of me wants to say that it has been a natural progression in my career, to end up where I am now. As a passionate individual, I have spent the majority of my career simply looking for the best opportunities for education for tamariki and whanau. I feel blessed to be able to pursue my career in this way, and could not have done so without support from my own whanau and friends who told me to never give up. Since my early days of study, I wanted to work for the Ministry. I have had whanau who held Ministry roles during my journey, which gave me an insight and determination towards making my dream possible through education and career decisions.
How has your master’s degree helped you in your current role?
I have found that the challenge of completing the master’s degree has enabled me to feel confident and competent in my role. I feel comfortable to challenge the status quo with research and relevant literature, while being able to give advice and assistance to those who need it from an educational context.
How did you find studying through NZTC’s online learning platform – NZTC Online?
Studying online has been an uplifting experience for me. The continued support and challenges provided by the tutors and lecturers has given me insight and knowledge that I may have otherwise overlooked. I enjoyed every part of my learning journey, even when the pressure was on. The technical support alone was invaluable and the caring and understanding team of college administration was supportive and timely when needed. A huge thank you from me to the NZTC staff for the continued assistance through a journey that was life-changing.
What advice would you give other educators thinking about pursuing the Master of Early Childhood Education?
I would tell anyone wanting to further themselves in study to think about their objective first. Then discuss it with whanau, as they are the ones who will have to tiaki (look after), manaaki (support) and give you aroha when needed. Each journey is specific to those who take it. If you feel there is something out there that you have to share, grab it, run with it, and look back with a learned lens.
Ko Hikurangi te maunga
Ko Taumarere te awa
Ko Ngātokimatawhaorua te waka
Ko Ngāphui nui tonu te iwi
Ko Ngāti Hine raua ko Ngāti Manu ngā hapu
Ko Sacha Cherrington ahau
He tauira ahau no New Zealand Tertiary College