Working in ECEC

Karla Baxter-Vincent

Karla Baxter-Vincent: Coordinator-Instructor for the Early Childhood Education (ECE) program, New Brunswick Community College-Saint John

"Don’t tell anybody how good my job is," says ECE instructor Karla Baxter-Vincent. "Everybody’s going to want it." Since 1991, Baxter-Vincent has been fortunate to work in a job where she can combine her two main interests—early childhood education and adult education.

Baxter-Vincent originally came to ECE after earning a BA in psychology and working as an adult trainer. About to embark on getting an education degree, she instead accepted a part-time job as the administrator of the Child Development Centre and another part-time job as an ECE teacher at the community college.

As the number of students taking the ECE program increased, the instructor job became full-time. Along the way, Baxter-Vincent also acquired a Masters of Education and advanced training working with children with special needs.

Her day is full: she shares the teaching load with another instructor, teaching four classes a day. She is an enthusiastic believer in the interactive nature of the program. "We have the preschool room set up as our lab and the students are in and out all day. We just finished a psycho-motor education course [looking at the connection between movement and brain development] and when we do this course we are in the gym doing what we would do with the children and then we talk about the brain connection."

One of the best aspects of her job is going into centres during field placements—"this keeps our heads in reality."

Her classes have high school graduates as young as 17 as well as grandparents. Students experience a lot of personal growth during the 40-week intensive training program, which she says can’t help but have a spillover effect on the children they go on to work with.

What advice would she give to would-be ECE instructors? Have some ECE experience and an understanding of adult learning principles. "To do this you have to like education. It sounds obvious, but not everybody who gets into it does."