Faculty of Applied Health & Community Studies
Degree: Early Childhood Education
Year of graduation: 2002
Living to learn: Early childhood education graduate Lynn Lill teaches through experience
Just like the children she teaches, early childhood education graduate Lynn Lill is always looking to learn. “I love the wonder of children coming into the kindergarten program – they’re so curious about the world around them,” she says. “I’m always thinking more like the child and how they see the world, and how we can explore that world together.”
Lill came to the teaching environment as a second career, after years of working as a personal assistant to a director at a brokerage house. “Teaching was something I gravitated towards,” she says. “I enjoyed working with young children. At times, the world can be such a hard place to fit into and I knew I was going to be sent to a classroom that needed me.”
Enrolling in Sheridan’s early childhood education program, Lill faced the challenge of being one of the oldest students in her class. “Going back to school can be very intimidating, especially if you’ve been out of school for a while,” she says. “But I enjoyed the creativity of the program, and the professors were so genuine and down to earth. They were dedicated and passionate about children and the ECE program and supported, with encouragement, the continuation of my lifelong learning that made it easy to enjoy going back to school.” She especially remembers academic adviser and education professor Velma Doran. “She was such a nurturing soul that made you aware of your possibilities as an educator, and she and other professors at Sheridan really gave me the skills to pursue a richer understanding of teaching and mentoring and continues to enrich my life,” she says.
While at Sheridan, Lill was offered a specialized placement at Credit Valley Hospital’s pediatric oncology ward, where she worked alongside medical professionals including child life specialists. “This gave me the opportunity to be part of a team that looked at all aspects of the health and wellness of children and I realized how my role as an early childhood educator could positively impact their care and recovery,” she says. “It opened my eyes to children that can be in the most vulnerable positions and how they still have such a drive to learn. The ability to change the day of a child and their parents, and to alleviate their stress and fear, is such a powerful thing.”After fifteen years as an educator, Lill still brings that empathy and nurturing outlook to her classroom every day in her current role at St. Kevin’s Catholic School. Whether trying to explore and promote different cultural backgrounds in her class or using her strong artistic background to express the children’s artwork through a gallery-like setting, Lill firmly believes in using open ended methods to expand her students’ mindset. “I think as an educator, you should let life experience guide you and let the children’s experience guide you in what you teach,” she says. “Not one day is the same to me — I love life, and I love learning about other people. That’s life for me: always looking ahead for inspiration.”