After graduating from high school in North Vancouver, Edgar knew she wanted a career working with children but was unsure of which career path to pursue or where to get the training she needed.
“I was always really engaged being around kids and it was very clear to me that this is what I am supposed to be doing,” she said.
Just as she was preparing to move to the Comox Valley, she learned about NIC’s Early Childhood Care and Education certificate program after a career advisor told her the program’s mix of theory and practical experience made it one of the best in the province.
Edgar enrolled in the ECCE certificate program in 2017. She graduated the following year and started working at the non-profit Tigger Too Early Learning Centre in Comox, owned and operated by the Comox Valley Children’s Day Care Society.
She credits her NIC training for preparing her to work in the early childhood care and education field.
“The way that the courses are laid out, the instructors start you out with the basic philosophies of educating children, and the practicums helped so much,” said Edgar. “I had amazing mentors who really prepared me. The NIC training gives you the skills to work in the field in a really holistic way.”
It was this holistic approach to early years education that inspired Edgar, a member of the Lax Kw’alaams Band, to incorporate Indigenous culture into her practice through sharing Indigenous stories and teaching children words in Sm'algyax.
“I believe it is important for children at a young age to connect with Indigenous culture,” she said. “That's how our stories and teachings are passed on, from elders to young children, and this cycle keeps it alive and connects children to the Indigenous culture of the land they live on.”
Edgar is now pursuing her ECCE diploma through NIC, with an aim to eventually pursue her bachelor’s degree in child and youth care, specializing in early years care.
“You know that you’re helping to lay the foundation of children’s future education and you’re doing it through their own world,” Edgar said.
“It’s really rewarding. I’ve learned more from them than I’ve ever taught them. They make you look at the world in a different way.”
The ECCE certificate is offered through a range of full and part-time options throughout the North Island region. It includes a curriculum focused on play-based learning, health, safety and nutrition in childcare settings, effective communication and practical experience working with children, as well as other essential skills.
NIC’s Early Childhood Care and Education certificate will be offered in Campbell River, the Comox Valley and Port Alberni this fall, with both full and part-time options available.
For information, or to apply, visit http://www.nic.bc.ca/health-human-services.