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Early Childhood Care and Education Program in Kitimat a Success for Students and Instructors

Feb 26, 2024

Kitimat, BC -- Eight Coast Mountain College (CMTN) students recently completed the Accelerated ECCE Certificate Program in Kitimat. All eight earned their Basic Early Childhood Educator (ECE) Certificate from the BC ECE Registry as well as an ECCE Certificate from CMTN, and now six have secured jobs in Kitimat daycares and two work at daycares in Terrace.

One of the key instructors for this program, Vicki MacKenzie-Denis, says, “We were fortunate to build meaningful relationships with the Haisla community and were invited to a community event for cultural learning.” 

Among the many opportunities for building cultural awareness, the group met with Elders who shared their stories and songs during a visit to C'imo'ca Head Start Childcare Centre in Kitamaat Village. The instructors integrated the Haisla language, values, and traditions into the curriculum and the group created a resource box for the Skeena Child Care Resource and Referral (CCRR) Program for students in and around the Kitimat area.

Vijaya Lakshmi Mithana, one of the graduates, says, “My journey to become an early childhood educator has been truly fulfilling and rewarding. Even though I already had a bachelor's degree, my passion for educating young minds led me to pursue this program.”

One of the highlights for Vijaya was learning about the Haisla culture and their deep connection to their land and the significance of self-respect within their community. This understanding helps her create an inclusive and respectful environment for all children, regardless of their background. Throughout the course, she gained insights into effective behaviour management and the importance of building strong relationships with the children. 

Vijaya also learned patience, flexibility, and adaptability – qualities that are essential when navigating the dynamic and ever-changing world of working with young children. During her practicum, the strategies she learned in the program helped her deal effectively with the children in her care. 

Vijaya says, “My journey at Coast Mountain College has not only shaped me into a competent early childhood educator but has also ignited a passion to continue growing and making a difference in the lives of the children I have the privilege to teach."

Her story is typical of the group who completed the Accelerated ECCE Program in Kitimat. The instructors found working with this engaged, deeply reflective, and collaborative group to be a rewarding and enriching experience.

“Their insights, feedback, and questions provided us with rich conversation in each of the courses and with a variety of instructors. Sharing their perspectives, challenges, and successes, they created a community of practice that will undoubtedly continue beyond this accelerated program,” says Mackenzie-Denis.

She goes on to say, “I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of such a passionate and dedicated team of educators, who will strive to provide culturally responsive and inclusive education for all children in Kitimat and area daycares.”

Three additional students who completed the course work but not the practicums have the option of enrolling in future practicums to gain their certification. 


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Heather Bastin
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