Dance images courtesy of Shiamak Vancouver and Peter So Photography

In part 2 of our series introducing the students in Cap’s new ad campaign, we highlight Early Childhood Care and Education student, Aleysha Karmali.

Who knew a love of Bollywood dancing could lead to a career in early childhood education?

“Bollywood dancing is extremely energetic, colourful and vibrant. It had me hooked from day one,” says Aleysha Karmali. The third-year Capilano University Early Childhood Care and Education student has been dancing for more than 12 years, performing at countless events and teaching with Shiamak Davar International, a Bollywood-based dance company leading classes in elementary schools across the Lower Mainland.

“Dancing helped me break out of my shell, make new friends, and discover things about myself that I may not have otherwise realized, plus it’s helped me keep in touch with my cultural background,” says Karmali. “I love being able to connect my two passions of dancing and working with children.”

Stepping out

A career in early childhood education was the natural next step.

“I was one of the lucky ones who knew coming straight out of high school that I had a passion for working with young children,” says Karmali. “It’s just such a good feeling working with kids.”

But, the future didn’t always look so certain. A serious accident on her way to dance class in her final year of high school resulted in serious fractures to her face and spine. Her recovery involved a long period of bed rest in addition to surgery and rehabilitation sessions with numerous specialists and therapists.

“It was a huge challenge at such an important stage of my life where I was completing high school, transitioning into post-secondary and the workforce, and becoming an independent adult taking on a new lifestyle full of unfamiliar tasks and decisions,” says Karmali. But, she was determined to graduate with her classmates and pursue her dream, and managed to do just that.

She applied to the ECCE program because Cap had the only degree in early childhood care and education, and she felt it would lead to more opportunities in the field.

“What I love about the program is all the stepping stones and certifications you receive along the way. It’s really motivating,” says Karmali. “By taking one specific course you can apply for an Early Childhood Care Assistant certificate licence, which allows you to get hands-on work experience in the field as you continue your studies.”

Karmali is currently a teacher on call at Lord Baden Powell Elementary and Glenayre Elementary schools.

She really appreciates the real-life experiences that instructors bring to classroom: “You want people who have been there in that position themselves. They’re giving you firsthand experience about what’s worked for them, what doesn’t work and what might work for you. It’s so important to have experienced instructors who are passionate about the topic.”

Seeing the opportunities

With about two years left of studies, Karmali is feeling optimistic about the future:

“With this degree, I can work in a Montessori, preschool or pre-Kindergarten classroom. Maybe I’ll move onto the PDP program at SFU or UBC. Then I could be in an elementary school working as a teacher with my own Kindergarten or Grade 1 class. I could even see myself working at the school board or investing in my own children’s centre down the line. I feel like the opportunities are endless for me.”

In her eyes, there’s nothing more rewarding than teaching and working with young children. “The ability to shape minds, show right from wrong, and have influence in the lives of future generations is why this career brings a smile to my face every day. And at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.”

Submitted by Shannon Colin, Communications & Marketing

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