By: Hillary Robert

Kayla Joice worked with infants at her placement. This was not her comfort zone heading in.

Early childhood education students at Algonquin College return to campus after a month learning the tricks of their trade.

Kayla Joice, a student in Algonquin’s early childhood education program, spent the beginning of winter semester dipping her toes in the waters of real life. Over the month of January she, along with all the other students in the program, was sent off to daycares, elementary schools and preschools to use and develop the skills they have learned in class.

Joice spent her placement in the infant room at the Colonel By Child Care Centre at Carleton University. Upon walking through the doors, nerves struck hard. “I also had worked with all other age groups except infants,” said Joice. “I didn’t know what to expect.”

The experience will benefit Joice as she finishes her program as well as in a future career in childcare. Joice had been set on a career working with children; the ECE program offered her the opportunity to explore the avenues of teaching as well as daycare. “Honestly, if babysitting was a good enough job to live off of I would do it,” said Joice.

Joice spent her first week in confusion and feeling out of place in the daycare. The full time staff had to dedicate time to showing Joice the ropes which took time and patience. “I felt more like a burden than help at all, said Joice. “I just always had to be guided and I felt like I should be doing better.”

But every job comes with its pros and cons. Joice’s least favourite moment in her placement developed into her favourite. The progression from feeling lost and confused over the first week to becoming one of the regular staff members was exhilarating for Joice. The skills that she learned helped her care for the children and interact with co-workers and parents all the while keeping up with the placement assignment logs that she had to complete for her professor. “I started to really get the hang of everything,” said Joice. “That was just a super boost to the self-esteem.”

Kayla Joice has nothing but positive thoughts about her overall experience. Placements give students the opportunity to learn the basics of childcare along with the opportunity to get to know the business. Learning to care for children and make connections with them is essential to success in child geared career. Joice found that after being present in the infants’ lives for so long, they began to recognize her and relax around her. “By the end of my placement one child was so comfortable around me that he was trying to move my shirt so he could get some milk since his mother was still breast feeding him,” laughed Joice.