Journey to becoming: Dreams, Detours and Travels
Hi, I’m Colette Stevenson.
I am an early years educator and mama who loves spending time with children of all ages. Since the early 1990’s I have worked in multiple childcare and education roles, they include:
- Early years educator/head teacher
- Early years ESL teacher/school owner
- Childcare professional and respite care provider
- Children’s entertainer
- Freelance teacher trainer
- and… Parent
And I am still far from knowing it all.
In all my years working as with the littlest members of our society, there are a few things I stick by:
- Children are people; they deserve mutual and equal respect
- Giving children the space to be kids, brings out their best qualities (and funniest moments)
- Showing children you care, is enough.
All in all, I have come to understand that there is a huge difference between teaching a topic and enabling learning; and it will be the latter that informs most of the writing on this blog.
Journey to Becoming an Early Years Educator
From an early age, I dreamed of having my own school (with all the best toys, so I could play all day). I was fortunate to have a wonderful childhood, filled with play and imagination; there was a reason my cousins nicknamed us the Cardboard Box Family! My siblings and I created and built worlds, we invented characters and histories, we played seriously and we seriously played. And, as I was the eldest, I continued playing well into young adulthood.
My love of play and imagination traveled with me wherever I went: babysitting and childcare positions, youth and volunteer work, and even my work in service and retail. Eventually, I turned my love of play into something concrete… a degree in Drama.
Yes, you read that right, I did not choose education or childcare; I chose to continue using my imagination. I could not, and did not want to, stop creating people and worlds.
Still, my love of working with children and young people blossomed as I navigated adulthood. I became a freelance performer and educator, touring the country with a range of productions and dramatic workshops. During this time, the most enjoyable projects included visiting schools and museums, performing in and facilitating “Living History” programs; above all, I loved how readily children would accept, and adapt to, changes in their reality.
The unexpected became my reality
In 2002, I moved to Japan to teach English. My plan was to stay for one year, travel, broaden my experience, and check out teaching as a career. I did not plan to meet my husband there, let alone settle down and start a family. Professionally, I did not expect to become an early years educator despite this being a wonderful fit for me. In fact, I loved my work so much I ended up devising and facilitating training other early years teachers. After some time, I opened my own little school (with all the best toys). But, despite unexpectedly attaining a childhood dream, I still had other plans…
I currently live in the Japanese Alps with my husband and son. We have a small, seasonal cafe and I offer a childcare service to tourists during the ski season. Throughout the rest of the year, I develop resources and activities for early years parents and educators. I write and read, then write some more. But mostly, I continue to play and I continue to create.
Some things never change.