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ECE/CD Student Stories

Rachel Adeyemo

        Rachel AdeyemoTo me, the teachers are the most important part of the Cañada College ECE program. Their attitudes, support, and their willingness to help was always at the core of the program's success; without it, we students would have had little interest in learning. The teachers were always available to help: before and after class, in their offices, and by emails. I remember contacting one of my teachers by phone, although she was away to see her family in another state, she answered me promptly, and helped me out. This example left an indelible mark on me and was truly inspiring. In addition, as a student, I was amazed by the teachers' passion, and their devotion to what they teach.

Completing the ECE program in Cañada College is helping me in my studies at the San Francisco State University; I feel like I am building on a solid foundation. When we are studying some topics at SFSU, my interest is easily ignited because I have prior knowledge of the topic. For instance when we studied about temperament in the university classes (flexible, fearful & feisty), it was complementary, never contradictory to the formal lessons at Canada College. Moreover, the 366 Practicum experience, the various class projects, and the extensive group work are very valuable in the continuation of my academic pursuit because I continue to refer them. It is impossible to enumerate all the ways that the ECE program has helped me; the ones listed above are just a few.

Shirley Chen

        Shirley ChenAfter graduating with a B.A. in Psychology, I found my passion teaching young children. When I started as a Teacher Assistant at my first center, I was encouraged to take ECE courses to further my understanding of working with children 0-5 years of age. Most of my ECE courses were taken at Cañada College and my first impression of ECE (many thanks to the great professors!) greatly inspired me to wonder and delve deeper not only into my career goals but into myself as a person. It was refreshing to be welcomed into a college environment that acknowledged and supported the lifestyle of a teacher – there were night courses available as well as day courses. The professors set up environments that were comfortable, informative and open-ended. I liked the intimate feeling of the classes and really appreciated that information related to ECE was readily accessible and available.

In the Practicum course I had the opportunity to do formal observations in the classroom where I was working. It was a great experience to be in a classroom and not act as a teacher, but as an observer. I also appreciate having the experience to collaborate with my peers in a safe space - it is so important to be able to provide that kind of space for the children I work with, my family and my colleagues. These are just a few examples of how Cañada's courses have helped me reflect and move forward in my career. The career counselors were also helpful, from them I learned about possible careers in ECE, where I saw myself and how I could move myself toward a career that I wanted. The classes were a wonderful place to gain fresh perspectives and support in a trusting environment. I completed 24 units in ECE in 2007, my coursework helped me to receive my Site Supervisor Permit. It also led me to my current work as a Teacher at one of Google’s Child Care Centers.

Megan Jepsen

        Megan JepsenThe Cañada College Early Childhood Education department is built on a foundation of professional colleagues with years of experience, providing a rich insight to the development and education of young children. There simply is no substitute for the highly qualified and genuinely dedicated instructors and support staff of Cañada’s ECE program. The support offered to each individual ECE student is immeasurable, making you feel like the most important part of the program. Their straight forward approach to teaching and learning is reflected in the positive environment that will inspire you to be a better person, communicator, teacher and if you are lucky enough, a better parent. My successful completion of the ECE program would not have been possible without their excellent support and commitment to guiding me toward achieving my educational goals! I am confident that I am prepared to implement my knowledge and skills as a new teacher as I pursue my career. I have learned the importance of being passionate about the future of our young children through truly understanding my own childhood experiences. The impact I have felt through this enlightening experience has been ultimately rewarding.

“Even adults learn, grow and develop optimally within meaningful, loving, reciprocal relationships with family, friends and teachers.”

I highly recommend and strongly encourage anyone with an interest in the development and education of young children, to be a part of the amazing Early Childhood Education Program at Cañada College.

Elizabeth Martinson

        Elizabeth MartinsonAs a first time mother at 18 years old, I was terrified at all the stresses that lie ahead of me.  I was worried if I was going to be able to handle this new life challenge that was brought upon me, and I knew I needed support to overcome this obstacle. When I took my first ECE class at Cañada College, I knew at that moment that I had found what I was searching for. The Professors were so warm and welcoming. They accepted me as I was and respected me as a student despite my circumstances. Their guidance is the reason I began pursuing a career in Early Childhood. I was so happy that I was able to receive their education as student and a mother. The knowledge I gained from the courses and the Professors at Cañada is some that I will never forget. I was able to develop the skills to be a qualified teacher and an educated mother. The courses at Cañada inspired me to want to know more about the field of Child Development and I knew that this was my true passion.  After graduating with my Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education in May of 2015, I went on to continue my education, and I am currently in my Senior year at Cal State East Bay, and I will graduate with my Bachelors Degree in Human Development, in June of 2017.

As I look back at those fearful days when I first found out I was going to have a child at 18, I never would have thought I would come this far. I was able to push through the obstacles of being a young mother, while going to school, and working. The encouragement I received at Cañada kept me motivated, as well as the support from my daughter. Without her, I don’t know if I would have had the strength to be where I am now. Her inspiration and the help from the ECE department at Cañada have provided me with the tools I need to be a successful teacher.

I hope that my story can also inspire others to not let fear or any life obstacle, hold them back from chasing their dreams. Fear only has power if you allow it to, instead I challenge others to utilize that, harness that energy, and turn it into something positive. We are all in charge of our destiny and we all can make a difference as long as we don’t give up and always fight for our dreams.

Amira Mohamed

        Amira MohamedEarly childhood education is not just a degree that you earn or a career you embrace; it is a whole life dedicated to helping not just young children but their families as well. It is a choice that you make to positively influence other people's lives. At Cañada College, I found the excellent support for me as a student, as an individual, and as a part of a coherent, caring community. Professors, mentors and counselors were there for me every step of the way. They were there leading my hand - just like I am leading little children's hands now  - to help me reach my goal of obtaining my associate degree in early childhood education. Today, I am proud to be a graduate student with a 4.0 GPA who also holds an associate degree in ECE and a bachelor’s degree in French language.

Acknowledgements would never express how deeply I was touched by Cañada College and its finest, elite professors. I cannot show enough gratitude to people like Mrs Sue Eftekhari, the ECE Program Services Coordinator and many faculty who wrote my successful story with their priceless knowledge, unconditional love, and beloved smiles. Thank you.

Joo won Moon

        Joo won MoonMy name is Joo won Moon, and I am originally from Korea. I took the ECE certificate and English courses at Cañada College. Five years ago, when I served as a Sunday school teacher, I became interested in children who have different characteristics, interests, curiosities, and abilities, especially children with special needs. In my home country, the institutions and schools that currently exist for children with special needs are not sufficient to help them, and most Koreans do not care about educating physically, and mentally disabled children. Some parents even want to hide their children who have special needs due to social stigma. Therefore, I particularly want to help these children.

I decided to study ECE first in order to build up my basic knowledge about the characteristics and typical development of special needs children in the U.S. While America has a longer, more solid history of early childhood education and special education than Korea, some Korean Universities even use translated ECE or ECSE books or references that come from America. My cousin recommended Cañada College as a good school that offers a useful ECE program that would help me both to improve my English skills and develop my knowledge in an ECE setting.

While studying in the ECE program, I learned about children’s various characteristics, cultures, and developmental milestones as well as about positive behavior support, how to plan a useful curriculum, the composition of a helpful classroom setting, and basic knowledge of children with special needs. I also took a practicum class which allowed me to train for three months as an intern in a practical preschool setting. During this time, I observed how teachers prepared their lesson plans and took care of their students. In addition, I saw how each child is different in his or her behavior, thoughts, temperament, and areas of interest.

The information and training I received in the ECE program was particularly helpful in my master’s program at San Francisco State University, where I studied early childhood special education (ECSE). As a result of the skills and knowledge I had gained in the ECE program, I was able to more easily approach and understand both the ECSE program and the children with special needs that I encountered. I graduated with my MA from SFSU this spring. I am truly happy about this achievement and I appreciate everyone who helped me along the way. I also appreciate the ECE program and Canada College itself. It was the first school I attended in the U.S. and it helped me to achieve my first goal. My final goal is to be a program coordinator for children with special needs and I am in the process of working toward this. I hope that all current and future ECE students at Canada College are able to accomplish what they desire. Thanks.

Chris Shreve

        Chris ShreveIn April of 1983, I was a distracted and discouraged student who decided to take a year off from college in order to regain my focus. Thirteen years later, with my youngest child about to begin preschool, I decided that my “year off” from college had lasted long enough and with my husband’s support and encouragement, I returned to school to finish what I had begun so many years before. My dream was to eventually teach preschool so I enrolled at Cañada College to restart my journey.

The ECE instructors at Cañada College were some of the most supportive people I had ever met. Yes, they were first my teachers, but secondly, they were my mentors and most importantly my cheerleaders. They made themselves accessible and I felt encouraged and supported. When it came time to complete my practicum coursework, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to test my wings at the Cañada College Child Development Center under the direction of Patty Dilko. With her encouragement and support, I took my first real steps into this exciting and rewarding field. Long after leaving the center, Patty continues to be a touchstone for me, an important mentor and guide. As I was reaching the last required classes of my A.S. degree in ECE, I confided in Dianne Eyer, that I would really like to continue my education but that I wasn’t sure I could be successful in a big university. Believing in me more than I did in myself, Dianne encouraged me to give it a try. Two and a half years later I graduated Summa Cum Laude from Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont. I am certain that the educational foundation, direction, and encouragement I received at Cañada College laid the foundation for my success at the University and beyond.

Currently, I am the Director at Holy Cross Preschool in Belmont. I am excited to work in a field that fulfills my desire to make a difference in the lives of children and families in my community. Additionally, I can honestly say I am living my dream. Won’t you join me and follow your dream?