Name: Saranya Thyagarajan
NZTC Qualification: Postgraduate Diploma in Education (ECE)
Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Early Childhood Education) graduate Saranya believes leadership knowledge and skills are key to building “child-centred” early childhood education in India.
“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.”
India-based KiwiLearners uses the New Zealand early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki as its foundation document – making its approach to early childhood education quite unique in India, where there is a strong emphasis on a structured learning environment.
So, studying with NZTC also provided Saranya with a global community of like-minded professionals, which she could discuss ideas with and reflect on her practice through the online discussion forums, which make-up part of the postgraduate qualification.
“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 through NZTC Online in India, Saranya decided to come to New Zealand to complete her 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.