Working in ECEC

Debbie Thompson

Debbie Thompson: Toddler Teacher, Chuva Program, University of British Columbia Child Care Services; Instructor, Continuing Education, Vancouver Community College

Debbie Thompson got “hooked on child care” when she worked in a child care centre part-time while studying psychology at the University of British Columbia.

“I switched from being a student working in child care part-time to being a child care worker going to school part-time,” she says.

When she made the “switch”, Thompson already had an Early Childhood Education certificate from Calgary’s Mount Royal College. She got her Bachelor’s degree and then took infant-toddler training at Vancouver Community College (VCC), where she’s been teaching part-time since 1995. She teaches early childhood education two nights a week in the infant-toddler and basic programs, and usually has a once-a-week practicum supervision during the day.

Thompson also runs the Chuva program for toddlers at the University of British Columbia Child Care Services. The eight toddlers come in the mornings (the program is part-time) and are mainly children of faculty and students.

“I pretend I have one job,” says Thompson, who along the way also completed her Master’s degree in early childhood education. “The two jobs really work well together. When I teach I can be explaining a concept in child growth development that I just lived that morning. And teaching really helps me learn and understand the concepts.”

The hours can be challenging. Thompson’s teaching nights end at 10 and she has to get up at six the next morning to get to her job at Chuva.

Thompson believes child care is an essential support to all families. “I see our role as providing care for children that enriches their lives in a way any family would want for their child. Parents know their children are safe, happy, learning and cared about and the parents can go and do whatever they do in their life, whether it’s work, study or other activities, and do it completely.”