By Nathalie Lizé
This whole adventure began for me in June 1990. Finally, after 3 years of hard work in School, I was graduating from education in childcare services (now called early childhood éducation program). With my pride and my diploma I got my first job as a preschool teacher. I got in charge of the 2-year-old group. I was the youngest, the baby educator of the daycare.
I remember my nervousness and my fear of not being up to it. This fear quickly turned into love for these children, this neighborhood, these parents and especially this great team of mine. I never left this extraordinary daycare center since.
I spent 30 years of my life in this environment which has become my second home. I have seen the generations come and go, the parents and their needs getting différent and the children change. I saw the educational programs evolve and, I adapted. I had to review my interventions to meet the new requirements. Which are, I think you will agree with me, more and more demanding. From educational programs to educational programs, I have held onto what matters most to me in my work, children and their well-being.
So far, the educational program I have enjoyed working with the most has been the program in effect today ( February 2021) the program called ” Accueillir la petite enfance” from Le Ministère de la Famille et de l’Enfance (Québec, Canada)
It is comprehensive and respectful of families and children. The values found in this program are very similar to mine.
Energy decreases, experience compensates
If I count all my years of service, I realize that I spent more than half of my life as an educator. It’s crazy how time flies.
Today I am in my fifties. I don’t have the same energy anymore. I have days when my age is felt more, days when I am less motivated. I run less when I play with the little ones and when I go to the park with them. I leave it to my younger colleagues.
On the other hand, I have a great deal of experience, which allows me to have the necessary distance when it is needed. I have developed a great ability to observe and quickly understand children’s behavior. It is easier to see their interests too. Complicity and respect for family values also come more easily. We manage to let go. We have more confidence in ourselves and in our abilities and our instincts. Age can be our friend sometimes!
The passion remains
I still laugh when I hear the funny words these amazing little humans tell me. I still enjoy seeing their eyes filled with wonder in front of a scientific experiment, a book about space or beautiful pictures of animals. I always love to hear the little voices of children singing along to the songs that I have taught them. My passion for these extraordinary human beings has stood the test of time. I really love them from the bottom of my heart and I know this love will never leave me. They teach me as much about life as I teach them. They enrich my daily life and fill it with smiles and hugs. A child’s sincere smile is the best medicine to light up a bad day.
This is why, 30 years later, I am still an educator. I work hard and with devotion despite the passage of time.
The road ahead
I still have a few years to give to my profession. I also probably have a few fights ahead of me. I no longer count the union meetings, the strikes and the mobilizations in which I took part. Because beyond my work as an Early Childhood professional, growing old in a childcare center is also fighting to improve working conditions. Preparing the future of the next generation, of those who will be there when I will no longer be. It is preparing the way for others, so that the future could be as easy going as possible for them.