Educator in the Spotlight: Robyn Taifalos

Published on Tuesday, 21 April 2020

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What is your full name and which service do you work in?

My name is Robyn Taifalos but I’m known to the children as Bobby and I am 60 years of age. Holistic Approach FDC is the scheme I work with  I am the only staff member with seven children in my care (four per day across five days)

What is your professional background and career experience?

I always wanted to work in FDC but a local supermarket offered me work and I stayed for 14 years. After surviving breast cancer I decided to follow my heart and contacted a local scheme and got started. I completed a Certificate 3 in child care then worked my through a diploma to extend my knowledge.

What attracted you to a career in the early childhood sector?

I have always had an interest in children. As a teenager I helped care for younger siblings. Children always seemed to naturally come to me. Working in FDC meant I could follow my passion and have the flexibility of working from home.

What does a ‘normal’ day look like for you?

A normal day is working with interests the children have, extending and programming. We have a schedule to guide us but it is very flexible. I love to take children on excursions, playgroup, the library, and to mix with other educators as this profession can be very lonely and isolated. It keeps us all energised, develops social skills and knowledge.

What makes your service unique?

My service is unique because I have honest, open and clear communication with families, which I emphasise at interview time. I am always improving my program by searching with other educators to see what we have available in the community.

A fellow educator worked at providing an intergenerational play date once a month that we attend, we take advantage of local community experiences like NAIDOC Week and extend on children’s interests mentioned by family or myself. I work really hard at helping children to develop their independence and to have initiative around their own self-care.

What are the advantages of working in early childhood education and care?

I love the fact I work from my home. My husband works hard to keep our environment interesting and flexible. I love when the children are in my care are able to just be kids. I have been able to help care for family members children, which is a big advantage. The children become family to me.

What are some of the challenges in FDC?

FDC educators currently face challenges because of the high visibility of criminal schemes in the media. Working alone can be isolating if you don’t find ways to get out and connect with others. The regulations and paperwork that come with the job can make be time consuming but of course are necessary.

How has your service changed to deal with these challenges?

We have to be creative to manage safety issues. I try often to include children more in programming and documentation. Also, there has to be changes made to stop people, schemes and such from making our industry look bad. I believe there are educators out there that are doing the best they can, wanting to stay home and raise their own children as well as provide care for other children.

What advice would you offer someone looking for a career in FDC?

In all honesty this job may not suit everyone. I say follow your heart and make it happen if you know this is for you. I will also add like every other workplace there will be times you question your decision but reach out to fellow educators who understand and may help you past where you may be stuck.

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