Danielle Mashon (2005)

Danielle Mashon completed her FNSP 400 practicum with the BC Aboriginal Childcare Society, where she worked on the ‘Early Childhood Educator Recruitment Project.’ The intention of her placement was to develop a system to track the current number of Early Childhood Educators with cultural awareness of the Aboriginal community and develop a way to recruit others with these qualities.

How well prepared did you feel entering into the project?

I felt prepared to enter the project once the proposal was outlined and signed by all parties, however, initially I was quite intimidated by the freedom and flexibility of the project. As the project was open to interpretation, deadlines were firm but always negotiable, and the mark distribution was enitrely my own, I felt initmidated because the project could be shaped as I felt necessary. As I said earlier, once the project had a framework (skeletal as it may have been) it was easier to begin working, but developing the project was certainly the most challenging.

Three things you learned from/about the organization:

1. Early Childhood Education is crucial to all communities but particularly unique in Aboriginal communities.
2. Non-profit work is extremely rewarding.
3. I enjoy work that is both independant and team-oriented, rather than strictly one or the other.

What was the highlight of the experience?

Developing a relationship with the organization and my direct supervisor was certainly the highlight. Also the opportunity to attend and volunteer at ACCS’ annual ECE conference was a great experience.

What surprised you the most?

The research/information collected through our surveys and interviews was the most surprising, because the results were not at all what I had expected. I quickly realized how important ECE is to communities and the true value of early childhood educators.

One thing you would do differently:

I don’t think I would do anything differently because it was the entire process and experience which made the practicum so rewarding. Every day was a challenge but I learned more about the organization and my ability to be adaptable because the project was constantly being re-developed.

Advice for next year’s students:

Decide early which organization you would like to work for, and PLAN, PLAN, PLAN the outline early! A strong structured outline will allow the project to run smoother.