"Your impact may not always be immediately visible, but it's profound and lasting”, says Audrey from Niño Early Learning Adventures Saratoga Estate.
These are some of Audrey’s words of encouragement for aspiring childcare educators and show why she was one of our well-deserved Thank You Educators winners.
We spoke with Audrey about her experiences as an educator and what inspired her to get started in the early childhood education and care sector. Audrey explains that her mum first sparked her interest in wanting to follow a career working with children, where she loves the impact she has on young minds and helping little ones reach their full potential.
Below is our full interview with Audrey. Read on for more inspiration and understanding of the value childcare educators have in our community:
Can you tell us about your background and experience in childcare? How did you get started in this profession?
After completing my business studies, I quickly realised that it wasn't a field I was passionate about. My true calling was working with children, so I made the decision to pursue a Bachelor's degree in early childhood education. This transition allowed me to follow my passion and work towards a fulfilling career where I could make a positive impact on the lives of young children, shaping their futures with care and education.
What motivated you to become a childcare educator? Are there any specific childhood experiences or influences that led you to choose this career path?
My journey towards becoming an early childhood teacher was significantly influenced by my mother. During my childhood, my mum cared for several children and I had the opportunity to interact with them by role-playing as a teacher and student. These early experiences not only ignited my interest in working with children but also showcased the positive impact teachers can have on young minds. My mother's nurturing and educational influence planted the seeds for my future career in early childhood education.
What age groups of children have you worked with, and what have you enjoyed about working with these specific age groups?
Working with 2 year old toddlers has been a delightful experience for me. It's fascinating to witness their boundless curiosity as they explore the world around them through their senses. Singing and dancing become wonderful tools for engaging their young minds and fostering early development. Additionally, I've also had the privilege of working with kindergarten children aged 3-4, who are the epitome of eager learners. Their constant questions and thirst for knowledge make each day in the classroom an exciting adventure as they strive to understand and discover more about everything they encounter.
What do you believe are the most important qualities or skills that a childcare educator should possess? How do you continue to learn and develop those skills in your own journey as an educator?
In my opinion, I believe educating children requires a lot of understanding as they may have varying needs and behaviours. Effective communication with both children and parents is crucial for understanding and addressing concerns. Being flexible, as being adaptable to changing situations and needs of children is essential. Understanding and responding to the emotions and needs of each child is important for their development. Understanding developmental milestones helps tailor activities and support appropriately as well as designing engaging and educational activities to promote learning and growth.
I have always attended workshops and training sessions on child development and early education, collaborated with colleagues to share experiences and learn from each other. I constantly reflect on my own experiences and adapt these approaches based on what works best for the children and always seek feedback from parents and colleagues to continually improve.
Can you share some of your favorite activities or projects that have had a significant impact on the children's learning and development?
The Think Equal program, part of Niño ELA’s positive education curriculum, is a remarkable initiative that deeply influences children's learning and development. It is founded on the core principles of valuing each child as an autonomous and empowered individual, fostering an active and constructive learning environment, promoting positive and factual language, embracing the concept of Ubuntu, engaging in the narrative process, and enhancing social cognition. This program also revolves around the six 'I Am' precepts, which empower children to cultivate a strong sense of Who I Am; I Am Able to Look After Myself; I Am Able to Look After Others; I Am Able to Communicate; I Am Able to Contribute and Create; I Am A Critical Thinker. Most successful project that I have implemented is to help children develop their social and emotional development.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a childcare educator for you?
The most rewarding aspect of being a childcare educator for me is witnessing children's growth, learning, and their continuous improvement in achieving better learning outcomes. Seeing them with smiles on their faces every day fills me with joy and fulfillment.
Are there any memorable success stories or moments in your career that you would like to share?
One of the most memorable moments in my career has been the opportunity to work with children of varying abilities. Collaborating closely with parents and professionals to help these children achieve better learning outcomes has been incredibly rewarding. What makes it truly special is the feedback from parents, who share that their children are thriving and excelling in school. Even more heartwarming is that some of these students, who graduated five years ago, still return for visits, showcasing the lasting impact we've had on their lives. These moments reaffirm my passion for helping children reach their full potential.
Finally, what message or words of encouragement do you have for aspiring childcare educators who are considering entering this profession?
I'd like to say to all the educators or teachers that you're embarking on a profoundly meaningful journey. Your dedication and care can shape the future of young minds. Remember that every moment you invest in a child's growth is a step toward a brighter future for them and society. Be understanding, compassionate and curious about the unique needs of each child. Your impact may not always be immediately visible, but it's profound and lasting. Your work is a gift to the world, and your commitment to nurturing and educating young learners is invaluable. Keep your passion alive, and you'll make a profound difference in countless lives.