By Courtney Villeneuve*
When I was younger, being a teacher seemed like my dream career. Getting to help others and be creative all day – plus summers off – was definitely an appealing lifestyle. As I got older and entered high school, my career plans shifted, but I never lost sight of the respect I had for those who chose teaching as their profession. Through the Centre for Community Partnerships and the From 3 to 3 program, I have found a way to give back to my community and engage with early childhood education over the last two years.
I spend my Tuesday mornings at Queen Victoria Public School in Parkdale, playing and reading with the children in my kindergarten classroom. They are incredibly sweet, always telling me how much they love my shirt or hair or fingernail polish. I devote my time with them to reading a short picture book in groups of two or three, and discussing the main elements of the story to make sure they understand the concepts and plot. More often than not, my kindergarteners surprise me with their insight. They are incredibly fast learners, and it amazes me how quickly these students can adapt to being in a classroom setting, many of them for the first time, and improve their English if it is not their first language. I have had the pleasure of working with a few students for two years, as they moved from Junior Kindergarten to Senior Kindergarten, and the improvement in their reading, comprehension, and social skills is astounding.
Volunteering through the Centre for Community Partnerships, especially through the From 3 to 3 program, has helped me gain confidence and give back to my community. I have loved to read since a young age and I hope that my time at Queen Victoria has helped inspire at least a few students as well.
*4th year student with a double major in Political Science and Latin American Studies, and a minor in Spanish.