Marcelle Stadler is a Northwest Community College Initiative alumna. She studied early childhood education at Whatcom Community College and completed an internship at Bellingham Childcare and Learning Center. Read below to learn about some of the differences between childcare practices in South Africa and the United States, and to know what Marcelle learned during her internship.
Upon hearing that I would need to do my internship here in the United States, I must admit that I felt intimidated. I honestly felt that I would not have much to offer. I felt that America is in a league of its own with regards to early childhood education.
Once my internship began, all my fears faded away. The staff was as friendly as well as all the faculty. At first I was afraid to give any input or even just participate actively. My supervisor must have noticed, as she was so wonderful about it. She spoke to me and told me that it was okay to be different. And the fact that I come from a totally different culture could only benefit the center. After we had this conversation I felt much better and started working more actively in the center.
It has been an awesome journey so far. I would share my folk stories at circle time and in return would hear all the fun stories the little kids had to tell. I have formed an amazing bond with at least half of the classroom. I have also formed good relationships with all the teachers in the classroom. If there is one thing I learned through my transition of studying and then doing my internship, it was letting go of my own biases to become the best I can be in what I need to do.
In comparison to South Africa the United States really does cater to the child’s needs first. Basic needs are not emphasized as much in South Africa, as it is here in the United States. As well as parental involvement and family centered centers. The main goal of most centers in South Africa is to just take care of the child and that is it. Early childhood education is also not as recognized in South Africa as it is in The United States.
One valuable lesson I have learned from the kids was that no one is born biased or prejudiced. It is we as humans that encourage those biases as we grow up. The diversity I have seen in the centers are simply beautiful, and to a little child there are no boundaries to friendship and to me that is beautiful.
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. The opinions expressed in this blog by writers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Northwest Community College Initiative program, Edmonds Community College, Whatcom Community College, Pierce College, the United States Department of State or any employee thereof. NWCCI and Edmonds Community College are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied by student bloggers.