MEd ECE* Student and Preschool Lead Teacher

Johanna Otsuji

"Being in the program has opened new doors to me, provided me with new experiences and knowledge in the field of early childhood education..."


Mililani, HI


Curriculum Studies

Related Degrees

  • MEd, Curriculum Studies: Aloha Aina Education & Leadership

What drew you to the MEd ECE* program? 
After finishing my baccalaureate, I knew I wanted to continue my education and learn more about the early childhood field. I have a fabulous advisor and mentor who led me to the program and encouraged me to enroll.

Where do you work?
For the past three years, I have been working at Sunshine School in Kailua where I am a lead teacher in a four year old class.

How did you become interested in the field of early childhood education?
I had done some volunteering in a kindergarten class to fulfill the hours required for entry into the Elementary and Early Childhood BEd Dual Prep Program. It was that experience that solidified my desire to pursue a degree in education and work with young children. Having been in the field for just a few short years, I have come to appreciate and love the children with whom it is a privilege to work. There is exponential growth in each and every child, and there is so much learning, socializing, and play in the classroom! Preschool is truly joyful work!

Was the format of the program a factor in your decision?
It was a big factor in my decision to continue my education. Since it was mainly a summer program, it worked exceptionally well with my work schedule. Furthermore, since it was cohorted, I knew that I would be able to develop deep relationships with other professionals in the field as we would be traveling through the same coursework together for the duration of the program.

Describe your path to this program.
After graduating with my baccalaureate, I didn’t wait long to enter the master’s program. I was able to join the cohort the summer after I graduated and have been traveling with them over the past couple of years. Being in the program has opened new doors to me, provided me with new experiences and knowledge in the field of early childhood education, and encouraged me to take risks and to put myself out there.

How has the ECE faculty helped you along the way?
I can’t say enough about the ECE faculty, especially the professors who dedicate themselves to raise those pursuing a degree in early education! I have never met such giving, supportive, and caring professors as those of the ECE faculty. They truly want to see you succeed in your goals, whatever they may be. They are willing to talk and listen, provide guidance and walk with you along your journey. They are there to raise your spirits in challenging times and celebrate with you too. I feel as if the ECE faculty wholly live up to being caring, knowledgeable, and effective educators and professionals who lead by example, and help you to become all you can be.

What are you future plans?
My future plans are to continue working in the field of early childhood education. I am always wondering where my path will take me, and I am looking for ways to build myself as a professional in the field. I have discovered that I truly love curriculum, and I would really like to become a mentor for those going through the baccalaureate program. Looking forward, I would like to be a part of the faculty at a community college or university to share and give back with upcoming generations.

*The Master of Education in Early Childhood Education Program (MEd ECE) is an interdisciplinary graduate leadership program offered by the College of Education and the College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources. The program meets the need for a variety of leaders in the field of early childhood education and care. MEd ECE graduates have attributed new jobs or roles within their current organizations to the completion of this program, and many have gone on to provide leadership in the areas of teaching; research; and program management, policy, and advocacy. This 30-credit program is designed to be completed in less than three years through a combination of three-week summer sessions over three summers and a variety of online, hybrid, and condensed format on-campus classes. The MEd ECE program is currently recruiting for Cohort V, which begins Summer 2015. Meet the Director, Robyn Chun.

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