I'm from the Philippines and decided to take up studying Early Years to further my career in childcare and teaching. I chose Melbourne Polytechnic (formerly NMIT) due to the emphasis on the practical elements throughout the course right from the first semester. In addition to this, the combination of the personal approach and small class sizes greatly helped in creating a collaborative learning environment. This was important for me as an international student since I was just getting used to the country and learning approaches.
The Associate Degree of Early Years Studies allowed me to revisit my thinking about teaching and learning. There was a strong focus on social justice and equity which can be important to consider for educators since Australia is a very diverse country. It can equip educators with a greater awareness and understanding that can help and influence their pedagogical practices as well as their interactions with children, families and other professionals.
The majority of the subjects were directly applicable to my work and were also related to each other. The content gave a solid grounding in the Australian educational context, however there was also time dedicated to understanding various international contexts.
The course had theoretical and practical components that complemented each other well. For instance, we had lectures and placement in the same week during the first year to give regular opportunities to check in and ask questions. After 1.5 years in the course, I was offered a casual relief position in the centre where I was on placement.
One of the things I liked most about Melbourne Polytechnic were the people. Not only my classmates but also the staff and the faculty. The teaching team of the Early Years department are very dedicated individuals who strive to provide a safe, supportive and challenging environment for students to ask questions and explore theories and practices that relate to education. They made my learning experience exceptional and memorable. I can't thank everyone in the department enough for their support in and out of the classroom.