What factors influenced your decision to pursue the Early Childhood Education diploma program at Seneca? How did you come to decide that this was the right career path for you?
I had obtained a Montessori certification before relocating to Canada, so I just wanted to continue in the childcare field. I had done some research in regards to the qualifications required to become a Registered Early Childhood Educator in Canada. With this research, I got the information I needed to enrol in an early childhood education program, so I decided to pursue it at Seneca.
Was attaining a degree always a part of your educational plan? Did you know coming in that you also wanted to pursue a degree, or did you come to that decision while studying at Seneca?
Attaining a degree in Canada has always been a part of my educational plan. I had it as a goal before coming to Canada, but the Early Childhood Education diploma program inspired me more to achieve the goal.
What influenced your decision to continue your education after completing your diploma?
I will say it was the quality of the Early Childhood Education diploma program. I gained so much knowledge and practical skills in the program that I was still very eager to pursue more when I completed it.
How did you decide which degree program to pursue?
I just wanted a program that is related to early childhood education and the Honours Bachelor of Child Development degree program is the most relevant to my long-term career goal, so I decided to go for it.
What factors influenced your decision to use the Seneca diploma to Seneca degree pathway versus attending another institution?
The main factor is that I liked the applied/practical skills and opportunities that Seneca offers through placements. That helped me a lot as a new immigrant in the Early Childhood Education diploma program so I was certain there would be more of such opportunities in the Honours Bachelor of Child Development degree program.
How would you describe your overall experience at Seneca?
Very challenging and amazing! Apart from the academic and career development opportunities at Seneca, I also engaged in the leadership development opportunities. I have successfully completed the Leadership program, I am a SMILE mentor and tutor. Seneca has given me the opportunity to redefine my potential, and I am extremely grateful for that.
How did the Early Childhood Education diploma program prepare you for the Honours Bachelor of Child Development degree program? For your current career?
The Early Childhood Education diploma program is a good foundation for my Honours Bachelor of Child Development degree program because I learned some of the major theories in the diploma program which helped to strengthen my knowledge for the degree. I also understood clearly my learning style while studying early childhood education, so I improved on key areas in the Honours Bachelor of Child Development degree program and I’m doing fine!
What are you up to now (life, work and school)?
I am currently in my eighth (final) semester of the Honours Bachelor of Child Development degree program. I am making time to support new Seneca students; focusing on international students. I have moved on from one-to-one mentoring to holding a weekly drop-in mentoring session for a cohort of first semester Early Childhood Education diploma students. This drop-in session gives me great joy to be able to support them on their journey of becoming Registered Early Childhood Educators in Canada.
Also, I am a tutor with the Seneca Learning Centre. I am there two days every week to support students with courses they may be having difficulty understanding in the Early Childhood Education diploma program.
Additionally, I started the Resilient Individuals through a Supportive Culture Club (RISC). It is a friendship platform for all interested Seneca students at the Newnham and King campuses.
You began the degree program in January 2019, how was the transition and how are you doing in your studies?
The transition was very smooth for me. I knew the expectations in the Honours Bachelor of Child Development degree program would be higher, so I was mentally prepared. So far, my grades are very good despite my several commitments outside of my academics.
Any words of advice to students who are currently in the program you graduated out of at Seneca? And considering pursuing further education?
I will advise that they explore Seneca more; there are a lot of great opportunities for leadership development at Seneca, but not many people utilize them. Employers are also looking for these skills, so it is a good opportunity for students. They should also do some self-reflection about why they want to pursue further education, what are the long-term goals and how eager are they to achieve these goals? Answering these questions will help to give some direction.
What are your plans — short-term and long-term?
My short-term goal is to successfully complete the Honours Bachelor of Child Development degree with A’s and start a graduate studies program immediately after at the University of Toronto.
My long-term goal is to own a licensed daycare and become an early childhood educator instructor at a college while doing my PhD to eventually become a professor.
You currently run the Afro Women and Youth Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to mentoring, empowerment and leadership development of immigrant women, girls and youths. Can you tell us more about your experience with this organization? Can you share more about your role and the work you do?
I am the founder of Afro Women and Youth Foundation but I am currently working as a Volunteer Programs Manager. We hold workshops in partnership with COSTI Immigrant Services in Toronto to support new immigrants/refugee women, girls, and youth from Africa. I network to seek the support of individuals and organizations to enhance our initiative as we are a new volunteer organization. The early childhood education faculty at Seneca have been very supportive with their donations and encouragements. Apart from the workshops, we are currently working on pairing well-integrated immigrants with new immigrants/refugees for mentoring purposes.
Any tips for current students or professionals looking to go back to school on how to balance work, school and life?
The major tip I can give is to do some assessment and identify how much support they would need to be able to concentrate on school. Identifying these needs and knowing how to get support is very important to be successful. Making use of internal resources at the college can also be very helpful.