Certificate in Early Childhood Practice (Level 4) (Home-based/Nanny)
Kapiti Coast Youth Council Coordinator
Bachelor Degree in Social Work
What were the highlights of studying at NZCC?
I chose to study this course because it was only six months, was free, and gave me hands on training working with different families. The different children and families I got to work with were a real highlight because each family had different learning opportunities to offer. I started with one family when their baby was only five months old and now he’s three-and-a-half. I’ve remained good friends with his family and visit them every time I’m in town. It’s exciting to see how the kids are growing and knowing I had a part in that!
The course material at NZCC was clear and easy to understand. We always knew what to expect in the coming weeks and the purpose behind everything we were learning. Tutors were always readily available, personable, and wanting the best for their students. Having smaller class sizes was great as it meant we were able to bond well as students and learn off each other’s experiences. I also particularly enjoyed specific learning days such as the water safety day we did at the pools.
The course has given me the confidence to know that I am offering the very best to a child and it also gives the employing family reassurance that you will be safe and competent with their children. The skills I’ve learnt have been very useful, especially those focussing on different ages of children and what is appropriate for them in terms of development, for example, what is the best way to get them to cooperate and what are the most effective learning and play activities for their age group. The first aid skills we learned were also invaluable.
What have you been doing since graduating?
It has always been a dream of mine to work in an orphanage in Africa and I found out about an organisation in Uganda called ‘Watoto’ who take volunteers for their baby homes. I spent two months there living in a children’s village where orphaned children are put into small purpose built houses and cared for by a widow who is employed to be their mum. It’s an amazing model for orphan and widow care. In this village they had a baby home where the babies live until they are two years old and can move into the village. The babies I looked after were mostly six months to two years old. Daily work involved everything from changing nappies, bathing and feeding them, to teaching them new words and giving them hugs. Some of these babies had horrific backgrounds and all they wanted was to be loved. It was an incredibly rewarding experience and taught me a lot about what it means to love others.
Prior to going to Uganda I spent a couple of months in Cambodia where I worked with street children and children who had been affected by HIV. Since graduating from NZCC I’ve also worked as a nanny for a family with two pre-schoolers, done relief work in pre-schools, done support work for people with intellectual disabilities, and volunteered for an organisation called ‘Homes of Hope’ which is a residential home for foster kids.
What are you doing now?
I work as the Kapiti Coast Youth Council Coordinator and I’m also now in my third year of my degree in Social Work. My goal is to eventually combine that qualification with my love of children, and forge a career working in child protection or child/adolescent mental health. Of course I’m always dreaming about going back overseas to work with kids in Africa or Asia too!