Masters in Early Childhood Studies

I am proud to announce that I’ve been accepted into the Masters of Arts program in Early Childhood Studies at Ryerson University. I am very excited about attending this program and learning from the amazing faculty that are involved in various levels of Early Childhood practice and study. I believe it will greatly advance my career aspirations in the education sector.

To get a better idea of my career aspirations and my intentions within the program, here is my Statement of Interest that accompanied my application to the program:

I am pursuing graduate education to gain more in-depth knowledge, acquire critical thinking skills and attain an understanding of different methodologies to prepare me to pursue a career in early childhood education policy making. I am particularly interested in a child’s right to a developmentally appropriate, culturally relevant, quality education. In the future I would like to work with national governments to build and strengthen an education system that ensures equity and inclusion in education. Furthermore, I believe that digital technology and the Internet could provide huge benefits to ensure inclusion and access in education and I would like to conduct research to shed light on the role of digital technology in education and how to properly develop school delivery models that meet the diverse needs of children.

During my studies at Ryerson, I would like to pursue research on the role of digital technology in early childhood education. Specifically, I would like to take a critical perspective of digital equity and the potential for digital technology and the Internet to support and strengthen education programs in marginalized and isolated communities. I have already begun this line of research through distance education courses at the University of British Columbia’s Masters of Education in Early Childhood Education program and through my current employment at a global education initiative at Microsoft.

I graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and an option in International Studies. Most of my courses focused on developmental psychology and during my years of study at the university I volunteered at the research-focused early childhood education centre that was part of the university. During my studies, I continually strived to match my academic experiences with real-world experiences including working on a UNESCO-sponsored global partnership between universities and peace-building NGOs. During my work on this initiative, I travelled to Bangkok, Thailand to organize a global forum and I also wrote many position papers and proposals, one of which secured $24,000 in funding. From that experience, I learned that there is a capacity for a global effort to accomplish major goals for the betterment of humanity. I also learned about some of the mechanisms for global cooperation and collaboration. This knowledge has inspired me to take on large-scale educational reforms.

Since graduating, I have continued working in relevant fields including working with youth and family communication workshops in marginalized and low-income communities. While working in these fields, I matched my front line work with broader policy work while sitting on the board of directors for a poverty reduction and prevention organization. My intent was to immerse myself into the issue of youth poverty and isolation through multiple vantage points and perspectives.

Currently, I am the communications coordinator for an academic department at the University of Waterloo that aims to generate new inter-disciplinary knowledge about social innovations and the social innovation process in Canada. Through this position, I am learning to view intractable problems through a systems and complexity lens. With a rapidly emerging field of digital technology and its implications in education, I believe it is of the utmost importance to understand the complexity of the field and deliver solutions that solve systemic problems and that are built from multiple perspectives.

My overarching career objective is to actively work on the second Millennium Development Goal set forth by the United Nations: universal primary education. I want to advocate that early childhood education is a right and can have massive long-term economic, social and individual benefits [click here to read a previous post on the subject of economic benefits]. I believe that digital technology can achieve huge gains in educational attainment and access, however, because it is an emerging and constantly evolving field, I would like to have the skills to sufficiently assess its effectiveness and coordinate proper delivery.

The program at Ryerson will offer me the critical skills and methodologies to properly understand the constantly emerging field of early childhood education and the potential for digital technology to make substantial gains in inclusion. Its focus on diversity and inclusion will give me a broader perspective of the educational needs of a global population.

Nick Petten

To read more about my ideas and thoughts around Early Childhood Education, please visit my ‘Education’ section on this website.