Sarsha’s ECT qualification opened unexpected doors
The Sector > Quality > Professional development > Sarsha’s ECT qualification opened unexpected doors

Sarsha’s ECT qualification opened unexpected doors

by Freya Lucas

June 17, 2024

When early childhood teacher (ECT) Sarsha Mennell commenced her Bachelor of Early Childhood Education in 2019 she never could have imagined her current role lay at the end of her qualification journey. 


Ms Mennell, who completed her studies online via Open Universities Australia, now works two days each week as a practitioner research assistant at the Digital Child Research Centre, a position she obtained on the back of her volunteer role at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child at Curtin University.


Her experience working with children, writing lesson plans and facilitating sessions brought invaluable skills to the Digital Child Research Centre and she was soon offered a research assistant role on a casual contract to fit around her studies, something she valued at the time, given her challenges in taking time off work to complete practicum placements. 


During the fourth year of her studies she gave up paid employment to complete the practicals she had missed, and it was at that time that she commenced her volunteer work.


“They have young children come in to play with digital technologies and robotic toys and learn basic coding. So, I went in as a volunteer to help out with a group of children who were coming in from Curtin’s Early Learning Centre,” she explained. 


The flexibility offered through Open Universities was a drawcard for Ms Mennell, with the construct of her Curtin degree allowing for her to balance work and study loads more readily, giving her the ability to slowly build up how many units she took during each study period to test out how she was going to manage her studies alongside work.


“I just started with one unit until I felt confident enough, and then I moved on to two units before taking on three units in my final study period,” she said. “If I knew I had a lot happening at work or I had a practical coming up, I would just do the one unit so I didn’t overload myself.” 


Having graduated in April 2024, Ms Mennell hopes to undertake some relief teaching to supplement her research work once her registration comes through, and is hopeful about the future. 


“I always thought when I finished my degree that I would be going to work in a school and have my own classroom,” she said. “I didn’t think studying for my degree would open up so many different doors for me, but it really has.” 


“I’m really enjoying working in research, exploring pedagogical principles that promote young children’s engagement in digital technologies through the lens of creativity and computational thinking. It is instrumental to their future.” 


To learn more about studying Early Childhood Education with Open Universities please see here.


This story is an extract of a piece which first appeared on the Open Universities website. Find the original here.

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