Alum of the Month: Kholoud Madi

Kholoud sits behind the sandbox in her preschool

Since graduating from VIU's Early Childhood Education and Care program in 2019, Kholoud Madi has started her own preschool program in Nanaimo - Elm Preschool. 

May 21, 2022 - 2:45pm

A desire to contribute to the community in a meaningful way and make a difference in the lives of local children motivated Kholoud Madi, a VIU Early Childhood Education and Care program graduate, to open her own preschool in Nanaimo. Elm Preschool is a full-day preschool program for children aged two and a half to five. We caught up with Madi to learn more about her new venture, and how VIU helped her prepare for this next step in her career.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am from Palestine originally, I graduated from London Teacher Training College in 2012 and I started my career as a teacher in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I met my husband in Riyadh when I was teaching there, we got married and moved here in 2016, when I initially enrolled myself in the Master of Education program. My sweet boy was born in 2017 and a year later I went back to take the Early Childhood Education program. I graduated from that program in 2019.

Why did you want to work as an early childhood educator?

After seven years of experience abroad, I have found that being a teacher is the best job! I love working with children and seeing the difference I can make in their lives. I have a passion for learning as well as sharing my knowledge with others. Another reason for becoming a teacher is to contribute to the community in a meaningful way and make an impact. So in 2018, I went back to VIU to take the Early Childhood Education diploma program.  

Tell us a bit about your experience at VIU.

It was amazing! A lot of group assignments, study groups at the library, and many weekend adventures and trips with my husband to get to know the Island. But sometimes it was really challenging for me being a mother of a one-year-old son when I had lots of papers, exams, assignments and practicum hours to finish. 

How did your program prepare you for what you are doing now? 

VIU gave me a lot of the skills I need to be an early childhood educator. In the classroom we focused a lot on relationships and communications. VIU introduced me to different types of teaching philosophies. I also went on field trips with my cohort to visit daycares and preschool centers, where we met wonderful educators who I learned a lot from. Finally, doing practicum placements in different places allowed me to meet a variety of ECE professionals and experts, which enhanced my network. 

What advice would you give a student looking to follow in your footsteps?

  • Set your goals and always remember – it’s not impossible to achieve your goals but it is not easy. It’s like the ocean – we are sometimes required to navigate through stormy waters.
  • Keep your mind open to new experiences and share these experiences with your instructors, classmates and co-workers.
  • Seek advice on continuing your career or education and reflect on goals you have achieved.

What’s next for you?

After learning early childhood education theories at VIU, I am excited to put my knowledge to work and use these skills in the real world. I opened my own center, Elm Preschool, in Nanaimo in fall 2021. I am inspired by the Reggio approach, which started in Italy after the Second World War. The approach focuses on each child individually, has no fixed curriculum and the child has “a hundred languages” to learn and to express their ideas with. The Waldorf approachalsoinspires me, which wasfounded in Germany in the early 20th Century. In this approach, children engage head (thinking), heart (feeling) and hands (doing).

Woman sits in the middle of a preschool room.

Kholoud Madi at Elm Preschool

"VIU gave me a lot of the skills I need to be an early childhood educator. In the classroom we focused a lot on relationships and communications. I also went on field trips with my cohort to visit daycares and preschool centers, where we met wonderful educators who I learned a lot from."


Tags: Early Childhood Education and Care | International | Our Alumni