20 year old Chelsea Plumridge is in her third and final year of her Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) degree at New Zealand Tertiary College.
We spoke to her about her experiences as an NZTC student and what really sparks her interest in early childhood education.
NZTC: Why do you want to be ECE teacher?
I have always enjoyed working with children of all ages and knew that this was a career that I would find interesting and rewarding. I knew that I could have fun while teaching children and not feel like this was a ‘regular’ job. Each day is different and interesting with challenges along the way.
NZTC: Why did you choose NZTC?
At NZTC the Bachelor of Teaching (ECE) was 3 years as opposed to 4 which I found at most other institutions. Living in Upper Hutt meant that I would have to do a lot of travelling everyday into Wellington and so by studying through NZTC I could study from home and save immensely with the cost of travelling to and fro. NZTC seemed like the perfect choice. I was completing my final year at Sacred Heart College so I already had that momentum to study too.
NZTC: How have you found studying via NZTC Online?
I haven’t had any problems. I will admit that you have your days where it’s challenging to complete study but it is a flexible course and you have a good timeframe to complete tasks and assignments. Studying online does mean that you have to motivate yourself, however having to work a minimum of 16 hours gives you that break in-between which is good! I have met some awesome people through the yearly block courses and have continued to stay in touch with them which has been helpful when gaining support for assignments.
NZTC: What other challenges have you faced?
I think like a few other students, referencing has been a main challenge, yet you do learn from block courses, as lecturers always seem to address this at every course…and there is now extra support provided online. You can always ring lecturers too, which I have done in the past, to ensure I’m on the right path.
NZTC: What have you learnt that you often find yourself putting into practice?
A lot of te reo Māori, and also acknowledging spontaneous play. Not everything has to be planned or structured throughout the day. I think it’s cool to let children be spontaneous and lead their own development along with having a laugh and being silly. Basically letting them be young children and have fun!
NZTC: What is your teaching philosophy, and how has it evolved over the duration of your course?
I strongly value relationships with children, parents and also other teachers. Having that communication with each other allows you to learn more about them and create a positive environment that is welcoming for all. No one should feel like they don’t belong and I think my own childhood and culture has influenced this a lot. I also value each child being unique and having a right to learn regardless of their ethnicity, gender, age, religion or ability. Inclusion is imperative! I also strongly believe in implementing te reo and tikanga Māori as it is an official language of New Zealand and native to this country. It is actions that will keep the culture alive which I value as a Māori student.
NZTC: Do you have any areas of interest or a special role at your centre?
I particularly enjoy outdoor play and setting up obstacle courses that children can climb, jump and crawl along. I love to dance with the children when we play favourite songs on the iPod and I try getting the children moving to help with exercise and physical skills. I also have a special role at my centre that revolves around preparation in the nursery as we have transitioned towards quality key teaching. I love working at my centre as I work in both the nursery and preschool.
NZTC: Are you likely to continue on with your home centre post-graduation?
Yes, it’s most likely. I have developed great relationships with all the staff and parents which is great being a student and beginning my journey in early childhood education.
NZTC: What advice would you give to a student who is thinking of studying ECE at NZTC?
I think if you can work from a computer then definitely approach NZTC for more information. It’s perfect for students who need that flexibility. I have enjoyed it a lot as I prefer getting on with my own thing. And it goes so fast, it’s hard to believe I’m in my final year already! Having to work a minimum of 16 hours a week from day one allows you to really see what early childhood teaching is all about, and whether you can see yourself in this career in the future. It gives you that balance of both theory and practical work too. You can develop your teaching as you learn.
NZTC: What is the next step for you in your professional ECE journey?
The next step for me would be to complete my teacher registration after gaining my degree. Then eventually, I hope to travel overseas and teach around the world.
To make a difference in the lives of the next generation like Chelsea, please call us on (09) 520 4000 or email Enrolments.