Engela Leevers’ master’s study enabled her to explore the importance of play in young children’s development, gifting her with an enhanced understanding that now supports her every day in her role as a centre manager.
“The premise of my master’s is reinforced every day in my centre’s philosophy. The ideas linked to the theory of play have become the cornerstone of how I recruit, train and mentor my staff,” said Engela.
The mother of three was determined to make a difference in early childhood education after working as a primary teacher and seeing the impact play-based learning had on young children’s development.
“I asked the principal for special permission to let my students play on monkey bars to help them develop gross and fine motor skills,” said Engela.
“Given this opportunity to learn through play, my classroom excelled. This left me inspired to work with children under five as I was determined to support them to develop the skills they needed for school through exploration and play-based learning.”
Engela went on to complete a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Early Childhood Education) and Master of Early Childhood Education, choosing to study at NZTC due to the college’s flexibility, support and reputation for delivering quality programs.
“NZTC gave me the time and flexibility I required for working, studying and being a mother. The pastoral care was also amazing. If I needed anything I knew I could call, email or rush in to see someone for help.”
Engela believes she has found her home in early childhood education, and recommends it as a career for anyone with a passion for children.
“You are filled with a fire that drives you to want to give yourself every day to the children. There is no better job in the world. It consumes you, and if it does, it was meant for you.”
This story originally appeared in the April 2019 Early Childhood Education Alumni News.
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