Sena Yumru is a Turkish student studying early childhood education at Pierce College. Here she writes about her internship at Milgard Child Development Center, a daycare located on the Pierce College campus. Internships are one of the ways that Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI) participants are able to practice what they’ve used in the classroom to turn knowledge into skills.
Because I studied early childhood education at Pierce College, I did my internship at Milgard Child Development Center at Pierce College. Milgard Child Development Center brings compassionate, thoughtful, research-based care and education to children ages one to five.
- Caring, dedicated, and certified teachers
- Observation and documentation of each child’s growth and development
- Full-day Head Start
- Flexible scheduling for Pierce College.
It was a really good opportunity for me to see the American educational system for young children. I have been able to see the differences between here and my country, Turkey.
For example, students are totally independent about setting the table for breakfast and lunch, and their self-care skills like getting dressed, going to the bathroom without help, and brushing their teeth. We do not have this opportunity in the Head Start of Turkey. There are people who work for the children’s nutrition. They do everything, and children just eat and come back their classes. That is why they don’t learn most of the life skills necessary to be independent.
When I applied to be an intern there, it was a challenging process. They wanted to make sure that we are healthy and they also did background checks. To be honest, I think this is a good idea. In my country, they do that for the teachers who are currently working at a child development center, but they do not require that for the interns. It is really important to make sure that workers are good and safe to work with children; even if it is only for one or two days.
It is not like a formal school, it looks like their home that they spend their most of their time. First of all everything is inside of the classroom, like the kitchen, the restroom, and the areas for all of the children’s developmental skills. Secondly, teachers and the other people who work there they are really friendly and patient. They became a family inside of this wonderful school.
Learning about the American early childhood education system gave me many good ideas about how to set up my own school for young children. When I go home, the first thing will be looking for a job that fits with my background. Developmentally appropriate practice is the key of ECE here in America, which means having closer contact with the children and pay attention to their development in each domain. I will find a job and apply this system to children in my country.
The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.