As I look around my first classes at the CIE, it reminds me of looking around the multi-cultural classes of my childhood and youth. Growing up in New York City’s melting pot, in a French-American household, I attended the United Nations International School. There were always people of different countries and backgrounds, and different languages being spoken. This was the environment of my youth. This international exposure was fundamental to my interest in International Education.

 

After high-school I moved to Montreal, Canada where I obtained a BA in Political Science from McGill University. My minors in International Development Studies and Hispanic Languages engaged my interests in education as a tool for development and my love of learning new languages. A few months after finishing my undergraduate degree, I went to Guatemala intending to stay for three months, perfect my Spanish and do volunteer work with young children. My three month trip turned into an almost six year adventure which has been almost my entire adult life until now. While my international education shaped my views and respect for other cultures, it was my time in Guatemala that deepened my understanding of poverty and the impact of education specifically in the early childhood years.

 

In Guatemala, for almost three years I worked for a not-for-profit called Safe Passage which provides educational, social and medical services to children and families who work in and around the Guatemala City garbage dump. I managed the Volunteer Program working with volunteers from around the world and training them to work in the various programs of the organization, from the kitchen to the Adult Literacy program. The Early Childhood Center at Safe Passage utilized a methodology which blends several philosophers’ research, was my exposure to non-traditional forms of Early Childhood Education (ECE). The program’s work with these at-risk children was important to my own personal understanding of ECE and its importance in community development.

 

I was then offered an opportunity to teach at and run a small Montessori pre-school, the Oxford Bilingual Education Institute in Antigua, Guatemala. I obtained an International Montessori Teaching Certificate online through NAMC (North American Montessori Center) to teach children aged three to six. While the population of children in this school was vastly different from those of Safe Passage, I learned that children of this age are all alike in the most important developmental stages of their lives regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds.

 

A high percentage of Guatemalan children fail first grade, thus learning at an early age that they are not meant for school. I want my career to help prevent children from becoming mere statistics. I am interested in furthering my understanding of how children learn during the early childhood years as well as the importance of early childhood education and the positive effects it can have on children, their communities and international development.  I would like to gain insight into international development initiatives focusing on early childhood education specifically programs that bridge socio-economic gaps. I know that my studies through the Center for International Education will allow me to meet these goals and more. It is a pleasure and privilege to be a part of the CIE’s community.

Degree: 
M.Ed.
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Graduation Year: 
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Status: 
CIE Graduate