Name: Danielle Jones
Program: Certificate in Early Childhood Education (Level 5)
Scholarship Recipient: Awarded an NZTC academic scholarship for under 25-year-olds, and a Prime Minister’s Athlete Scholarship for sporting excellence.
Greatest Achievements: Debuted for the New Zealand hockey team (Black Sticks) in 2011, and captained the Auckland under 21 hockey team.
Goals for the future: To represent New Zealand in hockey at the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, and open an early childhood centre with her sister.
You may know Danielle Jones as a New Zealand hockey representative, but there is more to this talented young woman than her desire to excel in sport. The multi-tasking 23-year-old has managed to balance her elite sporting career with study and work in the early childhood education sector.
NZTC caught up with Danielle to reflect on her study experience after she graduated with a Certificate in Early Childhood Education (Level 5).
Why did you choose to study at NZTC?
I chose NZTC as my place of study because I had heard a lot of good things about it through family and friends who had studied there before me. With my hockey commitments I needed a supportive and understanding college to study at. After talking to NZTC on the phone a number of times I was relieved to know they would support me through everything and with that I decided to sign up straight away.
How did the Certificate in Early Childhood Education (Level 5) work well for you as a study option?
I found that in choosing this Certificate in Education it meant I could complete my course anywhere and have complete access to documents and educators wherever I was. I knew that with my hockey training load I would be unable to complete the practicum side of the study that is required in the other courses, so having this option meant I could complete my first year of study and know that later on I could progress into teaching when I had the time.
How did you find the online learning system? Any positives or negatives?
The online services are great! I found studying easier knowing I could communicate with anyone at any time, and it meant that while I was struggling to understand certain parts of the course, someone was there to help me through it, both lecturers and students. It was great having all the study information in one place as it meant I could study from almost anywhere.
Do you have any plans to do further early childhood study with NZTC?
I plan to further my studies by applying for the Level 6 Certificate, and then once I have the time I plan to complete the Bachelor Degree in Teaching before eventually becoming a qualified teacher.
What are your career goals for the future?
Once I have had many years of experience I would love to open my own early childhood centre with my sister, who is already a qualified teacher through her study with NZTC.
What do you most enjoy about early childhood teaching?
The fact that not every day is the same and I get the opportunity to support the younger generation to learn and develop in their own way. It’s very cool.
How do you manage to balance your sport with your work?
I want to say having a balanced life is easy, but it's not, it's something I have to work very hard on every day. I have learnt to take time away from each aspect of my life to ensure I can continue doing the things I love equally. Becoming an early childhood educator is something that I've always wanted to do, but it never felt possible due to my sporting commitments. Hockey has always come naturally to me and studying has always been an add-on, but with the support of NZTC I’ve found I can have the best of both worlds.