Scott discovered her passion for working with children at a young age, babysitting children in her neighbourhood. Then in high school, she volunteered with a local early childhood centre for extra credit.
“There was an instant click,” she recalls. “I knew this was what I wanted to do as my career.”
She moved to the Comox Valley and enrolled in the Early Childhood Care & Education certificate. Scott says her experience in the program was life-changing.
“I’m neurodivergent, so school hasn’t always been easy for me,” she said. “My instructors at NIC were incredible in providing accommodations. They connected me with Accessible Learning Services, who provided me with tools and supports to help me thrive. It was the most encouraging and supportive learning environment I’ve ever been in.”
Through her practicum experience, Scott was able to gain valuable experience in in-home and group centres including Beaufort Children’s Centre, where she found her calling.
“When I first started my practicum at Beaufort, I instantly felt ‘I belong here’ – this is where I want to be,” she said.
Scott was able to work as a summer student staff while finishing her certificate and also had the opportunity to work with children in the centre who require extra supports. Her mentors and instructors encouraged her to continue with her studies towards her diplomas in Infant & Toddler Care and Supported Child Development, so she could focus on those specialities as an ECE.
“My mentors and instructors really encouraged me to continue my education,” she said. “They saw I had a spark and a natural talent for this field of work, and they were right. I absolutely adore my job. I have one of the most rewarding careers. I found my calling and truly what I want to do with my life.”
Scott was able to do her practicum at Beaufort, which led to her taking on a full-time position at the centre in the Hummingbird room, working with toddlers.
Her learning through the programs and experience at NIC also helped put into perspective her own experience as a child. “I remember being that kid, the one that’s disruptive that no one knew how to deal with,” said Scott. “With my new knowledge and understanding of child development, I’ve been able to look back and forgive the misunderstandings and lack of support I got. People did the best they could, but didn’t really know how to help a neurodiverse, chaotic kid like me.”
She hopes through her work with young children she can empower both kids and parents to support growth and development.
“Being different isn’t bad, in fact, it can be awesome,” she said. “My ADHD is actually a superpower when it comes to working with little kids. It allows me to multitask, like reading a book to one kid while watching the other kids as they’re exploring. My ADHD comes with its hyperactivity, giving me the imagination, creativity and energy to keep up with my kids. It’s part of what makes me successful in what I do.”
Applications are open for the September start for NIC’s Early Childhood Education certificate in the Comox Valley and Port Alberni. Learn more at www.nic.bc.ca/early-childhood.