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Brianna Billaney

Early Childhood Education Graduate

Brianna Billaney - Early Childhood Education Graduate

Early Childhood Education runs in the family for Brianna Billaney.

After finishing high school, Brianna was considering studying science until she was told about UCOL Horowhenua’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) programmes.

“I always wanted to be some kind of scientist. Being a forensic biologist was on my radar, but I had a little thought in my brain telling me to try ECE and see out it works out,” says Brianna.  

“My mum has a background in ECE and ran a childcare centre back in the day, so I thought I’d give it a go and see if I liked it, and I loved it.”

Brianna enrolled in the NZ Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care (Level 3) in semester 1 and followed it up with the Level 4 certificate in semester 2. She enjoyed how the programmes included work experience at childcare centres in the Horowhenua.

“I really enjoyed the hands-on experience. It was awesome to have the classroom work and then go out and do placements at kindergartens and childcare centers and see how the theory we learnt went into practice.”

“Something theory doesn’t cover is the ins and outs of running a childcare centre, so it was good to experience that first hand. Plus every centre is different so it was good to see how a couple of them do things.”

Studying ECE was an eye opening experience for Brianna and it built her love for learning how children develop and process what’s happening around them.

“One thing that stuck with me was that kids do learn on their own. A quote I wrote down was ‘Don’t sit them up before they can sit themselves’, which was from a physical and developmental standpoint. They need to learn to pull themselves up.”

Brianna says she received great support from her lecturer and members of UCOL’s Student Success team who travelled from Palmerston North to run workshops on study skills and wellbeing. 

With her Level 3 and 4 certificates under her belt, Brianna is now preparing to study the NZ Diploma in Early Childhood Education at UCOL Manawatū and looking to take on relieving work at a childcare centre to put her knowledge into practice.

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