Tara Carbone - Guardian's Kent Street Early Learning Centre
Tara Carbone - Guardian's Kent Street Early Learning Centre
Every month we profile a dynamic and inspiring early childhood educator working everyday to educate and care for our youngest Australians. This month we are delighted to introduce you to 30-year-old Tara Carbone from the Kent Street Early Learning Centre in Sydney.
How many staff and children are in the centre?
I work in Guardian's Kent Street Early Learning Centre, which is 55-place centre with eight educators, one cook and myself. That's ten altogether.
What is your professional background and career experience?
I started at Kent Street two weeks before my 18th birthday back in 2007 as a trainee. I have my Certificate III and Diploma in Children's Services and have worked in every age group over the past 11 years. I was second in charge for a year before I started to co-manage three days a week with the manager of Kent Street at the time for a year before I took over the manager's position full time in mid 2017.
What attracted you to a career in early education and care
My love for children and teaching. I have always enjoyed working with children, babies in particular, even from a young age I knew it was something I always wanted to do. It's hard work but its one of the most rewarding jobs in the world.
What does a 'normal' day look like for you?
A normal day doesn't exist in early childhood haha! Every day is different, you never know what is on the cards which is what makes it exciting! I usually come in early and enjoy being here to welcome the families and support the educators throughout the day.
I do some office work throughout the morning and after the children eat I spend some time in each room covering lunch breaks. This gives me an opportunity to spend some time with the educators and help out in the rooms. It also gives me a break from the office which is nice!
What makes your service unique?
Here at Kent Street ELC we pride ourselves on our relationships with families. Building and forming genuine relationships is the key to ensuring the children, families and educators are happy and are ready to learn.
If a child doesn't feel safe and secure in their environment, they won't be as open to learning as a child who is happy and settled. We strive to create welcoming and home-like environments so that new families and children feel at ease when they start with us.
Our educators have all been here for a long time, we have low staff turnover at Kent Street which is really important to families and even more important for the children. We received the highest NPS score in NSW and the second highest in the country which we were very proud of. Some of the feedback we received from families included their love of our educators, our regular communication, our welcoming environments and that they feel confident and happy leaving their child with us knowing that they will learn great things and feel safe and secure while in our care.
What are some of the advantages of working in the early childhood sector?
Its an extremely rewarding job and Guardian is a fantastic company to work for as you have many opportunities for professional development and lots of freedom within the centre to explore your own skills and teach the children amazing things!
What are some of the biggest challenges facing the sector?
I think with early childhood the biggest misconception is that we are just babysitters who play with children all day. We are still having to defend our jobs every day to prove that we play an extremely important role in the development of each child. A lot of people don't understand how much teaching we do. They forget about the experiences we plan, the observations we write, the summative assessments we do every six months as well as ensuring each child is looked after at the highest standard possible.
How has your service changed to deal with these challenges?
Our service is filled with passionate educators who form great relationships with each family which in turn makes it easier for them to show these families that we do more than just look after their child for ten hours a day. Our families know how hard we work and our educators ensure they are showing the families what their child is learning every day through Storypark and with photos of experiences in each room. We want them to know that we offer way more than just a place to drop their child off while they go to work.
How does the industry need to change to adapt to these challenges?
There needs to be more information available to families and schools need to support what we do as I feel there is a slight disconnect between early childhood and primary school. We need to work together and support one another so that families understand the difference between what we do from ages zero-five and how we prepare their child for school and what their child will learn once they get to school.
What advice would you offer someone thinking about a career or looking for a promotion in early learning and care?
I think you really have to love what you do in the early childhood sector. It takes someone with patience and a lot of love for children and education in general. Child care is not babysitting. We play a vital role in childhood development and you need to be prepared to not only care for these children but also teach them about kindness, respect and love for not only one another but also our environment. Our goal is to teach them life skills and prepare them to take on the world!
After 11 years at the one centre I'm probably living proof that I love where I work and I am still happy coming into work every day. Margaret Mead a cultural anthropologist once said, "Children must be taught how to think, not what to think" and that's a motto I have tried my best to live by when I'm teaching and encourage my educators to do the same.
I'm so proud of Kent Street and the people I work with. We have a great team and I've formed some amazing friendships which I know I will have for life. Guardian has been a great support to my career in early childhood and I feel very lucky to do what I do!
This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Thursday, 30 January 2020
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