Tina Kalra and her daughter
Name: Tina Kalra
NZTC Qualification: Bachelor of Education (ECE)
What inspired you to pursue a career in early childhood education?
I have been working with children for the past 14 years. Spending such a long time in early childhood and observing children for such a long period made me inquisitive about the way each child grows, and to know more about how we as teachers and caregivers can contribute meaningfully to these beautiful founding years.
The Bachelor of Education (ECE) is your third qualification with the college. What has made you continue to choose New Zealand Tertiary College (NZTC) as your institution of study?
With each passing year, it only became more interesting and extensive. As I work in early childhood and I am one of the founding members of a preschool and daycare chain, it helped me immensely to link my learnings to my practical environment. This, in turn, has helped our management team to make decisions based on what is right for children – one of the core values of our centres.
How has your online study experience been?
At first it was extremely time-consuming, as there was a lot of research and articles that I needed to get through. But this added immensely to my knowledge pool. Because online study isn’t fixed to a particular time or day, it was convenient to be able to work around my schedule.
You recently opened a centre. How did this come about?
This is my third centre. We opened the first one in 2013, at the same time I started studying with NZTC. Working in early childhood is a big commitment to the generation of tomorrow. After having worked with many other early childhood centres, the urge to build and deliver a holistic environment for children in Mumbai grew strong.
Given the real estate challenges, many children in Mumbai were enrolled in mainstream schools, as good daycare facilities and preschools focused on the early years were not available. We wanted to bridge this gap, hence we started centres that cater to children from six months to six years old. World of Children was born with an intention and passion to create a spacious place for children that they can call their own.
What support have you received from the college during your studies?
The team in Mumbai have been extremely supportive. During my first year of study, I would meet with someone from the college face-to-face once a month, and then it moved on to support through phone and email. The response time to any query is super, and the online discussions and moderator questions have been very helpful. My emails to the assessment markers have also always been responded to promptly.
Have you experienced any challenges or triumphs during your studies?
The challenges of maintaining a regular study routine along with being a working mum has been difficult on some occasions. Triumphs have been many, varying from receiving a pass or merit grade, to simply relating my learnings at my centre.
What advice do you have for other students who are thinking about pursuing a qualification in early childhood education?
In India, early childhood is still a small community. It is not really recognised as a prestigious industry to work for. I feel grateful to have met many people who are working relentlessly to change this mindset. So, for every soul that decides to travel this path – I would say – welcome to the best roller coaster ride ever!