For many people, being around children is a special and rewarding experience. For those who wish to work with children as a career, however, it can be difficult to choose from a variety of fields including teaching, health care, child care, or even children’s entertainment.
Vancouver Community College alumna Ana Cukic shares about the experiences that led her to choose VCC’s Early Childhood Care and Education program (ECCE), and how her education informs her current work as an Infant Toddler Educator.
Can you describe your career journey?
I always knew I wanted to work with children, but I was not sure in what way. I contemplated pediatric nursing but it was really not for me. One summer I got the opportunity to work in a summer day camp, working with 3 to 5-year-old children, and that's when I knew that the field of early childhood education was for me.
What was the best part about studying at VCC?
I enjoyed the evening classes because it allowed me to work during the day.
What impact did your teachers at VCC have on your career path?
All the teachers were supportive and easy to approach. They always made class engaging and enjoyable. I hope to one day teach ECCE courses and provide a similar learning environment.
What would people be surprised to know about being an early childhood educator?
It's not all fun and games like some people may think. It requires patience, program planning, flexibility, and sometimes trial and error.
What is your favorite book to read to children and why?
My current favorite book is Stand Like a Cedar by Nicola I. Campbell and illustrated by Carrielynn Victor. I love this book because of its beautiful illustrations and message.
What is your best piece advice for someone starting out in this industry?
Be open minded to trying new things and taking risks. Children will surprise you.
What do you love most about working with children?
I love being able explore the world in different ways. Children have their own unique ideas, and every so often, a child says something or does something that makes me say, "I never thought about that, let's explore it together."