In 1985 Linda Leone completed the diploma in Camosun’s Early Childhood Education and Care program. Following this she received a degree in Child and Youth Care from UVic and, in 1997, was awarded a MEd degree from Simon Fraser University.
In 1995, after seven years working in the field, Linda became a teacher in Camosun’s Early Learning and Care (ELC) program. At that time, the program welcomed 47 – 53 into first year and 15 – 20 students into second year. Linda loved the energy and potential that came with these new relationships.
Her greatest satisfaction was watching the transformations as learners gained competence and, ultimately, became colleagues. And, for Linda, the most significant gift she received from her time at the college was the special friendships she made with colleagues.
In the early 2000s, under the B.C. Liberal government, funding cuts impacted all secondary educational institutions. Many early childhood education programs were cut and Camosun’s ELC program came under threat. The ELC team were buoyed by the outpouring of support from the Child Care community, Camosun Childcare Services, and colleagues from other colleges. Letters poured in. Program Leader, Denise Davis, joined others who spoke to the Camosun Board of Governors. Finally, a compromise was reached whereby the second year of the program was cancelled. Fortunately, a few years later, it was reinstated.
In 2004, Linda became Program Leader. The position provided 20% release to oversee a two- year program, undertake special projects, sit on a Provincial Articulation Committee and be involved with Professional Associations. The special projects included developing a Family Child Care course for the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations, as well as developing on-line offerings.
Online courses were very popular because completing an ELC course made a person eligible to work in an early learning centre. Linda worked with a wonderful tech crew who helped her devise learning “moments” that students enjoyed and which stimulated a lot of sharing. Eventually, the entire ELC program, except for the practicum, was made available for on-line learning.
Submitted by Faye Ferguson, CCARE Retiree