Marjolaine Jeanty teaches the Early Childhood Education program at Herzing College
Are you considering early childhood education training, but want to know more about what’s involved so you can decide whether this path is right for you?
Meet Marjolaine Jeanty. She’s been an early childhood educator for more than a dozen years, and now teaches other ECEs in Herzing’s Early Childhood Education program. She is your perfect guide to training, careers, and what it takes to be successful as an ECE.
In this interview, Marjolaine explains what to expect in Herzing’s ECE program, where you can work after college, and how to know if this profession is right for you.
Read on for some expert advice and an inside look at the program.
Q. Marjolaine, can you share a little about your background in early childhood education?
Marjolaine: I’ve been in the field for over 14 years. What sparked my desire to work in education was being a camp counsellor. It was, then, one of the most amazing experiences I had.
After that I was hired in a daycare, and a co-worker told me I was a natural at it. She suggested I pursue further study in the field, so I did.
I continued working and I stayed in that daycare for the next 10 years. I worked with children from all different backgrounds, including children with special needs and children who came from broken families.
Then I became interested in management. I went to university and did HR management, then found a job as a daycare director.
I served as a director at two daycares: one catering to families with lower educational backgrounds and facing financial hardship, and the other where families were highly educated and affluent. They were complete opposites, and it was one of the most tremendous experiences. The needs of the children were the same, but the approach with the parents was not the same. And that was amazing to learn.
Q. How long have you been teaching the Early Childhood Education program at Herzing?
Marjolaine: It’s been almost nine years now. I still go to the daycares to visit students on internship, and I get to talk with the directors. That lets me see the evolution of daycare because things change so quickly. The laws and regulations change and we have to keep up.
Q. What are the most important skills students learn in the ECE program?
Marjolaine: Students learn to create lesson plans and activities that promote learning and tap into the child’s spheres of development.
One of the most important things we teach is to be accepting of others and where they’re at. This is essential in daycare. You can’t start judging people. You may not agree with them, but that doesn’t mean you can’t understand where they’re coming from.
Q. The Early Childhood Education program is now delivered fully online. How does that work?
Marjolaine: Sometimes we do live conference calls. Students also create videos to show what they have done.
For example, in one module, students have to create a book for children. They must create it from scratch. It doesn’t have to be paper, it could be another texture—it doesn’t matter as long as it is for the specified age group.
Because we’re online, they can’t physically hand in the book. So they have to take pictures and videos for accountability. It’s easy to take pictures from the internet; it’s less easy to make a video and pretend it’s yours when it’s not.
What’s challenging about a program like this is that it involves extensive human interaction and leadership both in the classroom and in the field. A daycare environment is more lively and much louder! So sometimes I have to remind the students of that.
Q. The ECE program includes two internships. Tell us about those.
Marjolaine: Students actually go to a daycare and carry out all the tasks and duties under a qualified educator.
Interns put into practice what we have learned in the classroom. They help with everything from meeting the basic needs of the child and seeing to the health and safety of a group of children to planning and leading educational activities.
During the first internship, the students practise with the help of the qualified educator. After a few weeks, an instructor observes the students in action and then provides feedback on things to change or work on.
The second internship is exactly the same, except that when the instructor comes to observe, the student is in charge of the group. They must be able to take control of the morning by themselves. The educator is in the class, but she cannot intervene. So the student has to show that they can do it.
If a student works with infants in the first internship, the second internship would be with an older age group. The idea is to get experience with a broad range of ages.
Q. Where do ECE graduates usually get hired?
Marjolaine: Most of our graduates work at preschools and daycares. In fact, a lot of our students get hired after their first internship.
Q. Do some graduates open their own daycares?
Marjolaine: Some do start their own daycare business after finishing the ECE program.
Q. What backgrounds do your students come from?
Marjolaine: Some students are fresh out of high school. Some are career changers who studied something like finance or business but realized it wasn’t for them. Some currently work in the ECE field but don’t have a diploma and can’t advance without more education, so they complete the program while working in a daycare.
Everybody comes from a different background, which makes it fun.
Q. How does someone know they’d be a good fit for the ECE program? Any advice for new students?
Marjolaine: If you love children, and have a keen interest in children’s development, and want to make a difference in education, this may be the program for you. But be aware that it’s not just making cookies and singing songs. It demands more rigour.
You also have to understand that you are working with children, but you’re dealing with parents. A lot of students forget that part.
Someone who is creative will fare very well. Children have great imagination, and if you can tap into the child’s world because you yourself are creative or imaginative, you can do well.
LEARN MORE ABOUT EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION TRAINING
The Early Childhood Education program at Herzing College is delivered online and can be completed in just 14 months. The program includes two internships for a total of eight weeks of real work experience.
If you want to learn more, your next step is to speak with admissions. An advisor can explain courses, application requirements, careers, tuition costs, and financial aid options.
Click below to get started! Explore the ECE program and chat live with an advisor right now. We’re here to help!