Headshot of Courtney Dubyna

Follow your heart on your learning journey

May 6, 2024

From classroom to career: Courtney Dubyna

Courtney Dubyna’s love of educating children blossomed when she began helping out in a small family daycare she attended as a child. She decided to become an educator and enrolled in Vancouver Island University’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) program.

Since graduating in 2020, she’s worked her way up the ladder from assistant to management and is now the Owner and ECE Directress of The Thinking Garden Childcare Centre Ltd. She just opened a second location in Qualicum Beach.

Courtney says the program allowed her to explore the early childhood education field through practicum placements and workshops. Her professors encouraged and inspired her. Here, Courtney shares some of her VIU highlights and what’s next for her.

Why did you choose VIU for your education? 

I chose VIU for my education because I had heard wonderful things about the ECE program. Friends and family who have attended VIU seemed to love their professors and all the university had to offer.

Tell us a bit about your experience at VIU and in your program.

The program at VIU allowed me to express my personal beliefs around children and the childcare field. I could visit and work at centres through practicum placements and discover who I wanted to be as an early childhood educator. Getting my diploma opened many doors for me in this field and allowed me to meet and connect with so many wonderful educators around the Island.

Courtney Dubyna

Courtney Dubyna

Were there any unexpected benefits you discovered after becoming a student?

A huge benefit I wasn’t expecting during my university experience, was the opportunity for awards and bursaries. During my time at VIU, I was honoured to receive three bursaries and two awards which I put towards my education. 

Can you share an experience where one of your profs made an impact on your learning experience? 

Two professors impacted the time I spent at VIU. Ocean Kneeland and Antje Bitterberg were extremely supportive, caring and kind professors. They allowed me to learn in a way that left me feeling encouraged and inspired. 

How did your program prepare you for your current role in the workforce or further studies in your field?

My program opened opportunities for me to explore the field while I was still learning. It encouraged me to learn different childcare philosophies, attend workshops and discover new programs to further my studies. Practicum placements and workshops allowed me to build confidence in my role as an educator.

What are you most proud of since completing your program at VIU?

I’m proud of winning second place in Best of the City 2022 for the category of Best Community-Minded Business. I’m proud of myself for being resilient and confident in the challenges that came my way over the past few years and continuing to be a positive and strong advocate for children and education.

What advice would you give VIU students following a similar trajectory as yourself?

Always follow your heart and always keep an open mind. Continue to explore ECE practices as the field evolves and changes, but never forget your values and beliefs.

What’s next for you?

This year, I opened my second location in Qualicum Beach and plan to continue providing inclusive, caring and joyful care to children around the Island.


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