Child care person in the spotlight: Rachel Sydir

Published on Tuesday, 21 March 2017
Last updated on Wednesday, 14 October 2020

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What is your name and which centre do you work in?

My name is Rachael Sydir and I am 32. I work across two services Explore and Develop Penrith and Penrith South. Both services have approximately 20 educators each. Penrith has 75 children per day and Penrith South has 72 children per day.

What is your professional background and career experience?

I have worked in the early childhood profession for approximately 15 years. I began as a child care trainee and then moved my way through my traineeship going on to complete my Diploma and then onto university. It was in 2011 when I completed a Bachelor of Education at the University of New England. Throughout my study I continued to work in early learning services. My degree allows me to teach in primary schools. I have spent some time here during practicums and casual work however my passion lies with early childhood.

What attracted you to a career in child care?

Teaching in early learning can make such a difference to the life of a child. To be able to make an impression and guide children which will in turn benefit their overall wellbeing and life – it is truly a marvellous sector to be involved in.

What does a 'normal' day look like for you?

There is no such thing as a 'normal day', however you could say that my day involves: policy reviewing, time spent looking at quality practices and improvements, educating children and educators and researching to always improve.

What makes your centre unique?

Our services have a group of educators who are passionate about the care that we provide for children. We extend our passion to families and we are always looking for different ways to improve in all aspects. Our programs are built on childrens’ interests and based on play as we know that play matters and impacts hugely in the development of a child.

Our services explore different cultures and spends time understanding and unpacking these cultures to place an authentic approach when teaching.

The best thing about our service is we are never done learning. Learning is continual and we all recognise this and so we continue.

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

Working in the child care sector you are shaping the minds of children who will one day be the controlling influence in the world. Children learn a lot from us however we also learn a lot from them. The attention to detail that a child gives to an activity or the care and love that a child shows to a plant has a lot to be said for. How you respond or act to a child teaches them not only right and wrong but also empathy and care. Children don't judge nor do they criticise – they learn. Their questions are intriguing and come from curiosity. To be a part of so many young minds is a very rewarding thing, this is definitely an advantage.

What are some of the biggest challenges facing the child care sector?

A challenge that the sector faces is currently becoming less of a challenge and that is the recognition that the early learning is important. For many years child care centres were looked at as being a place to put your child to be babysat. This concept is slowly becoming unravelled which is amazing. There has been a lot more media coverage and government changes which have showcased early learning centres as being a place of teaching and learning. This is still a challenge as to change the minds of many takes time however it is definitely moving in the right direction.

How has your centre changed to deal with these challenges?

Our centre ensures that we always take a professional approach. We do this in all aspects of our day. This extends to our documentation. We emphasise that we are educated teachers who are making difference in the lives of children. We ensure that we celebrate achievements of qualification and we showcase this to our families. We research and we continue to learn and we are not afraid of challenges and so rise to the challenge and show our strengths.

How does the industry need to change to adapt to these challenges?

Our industry needs to continue to be strong. We need to empower one another to continue to motivate and show that we are making a change. We need to continue to advocate for early learning and showcase this to not just our individual centres but the community and show them how this is being achieved.

What advice would you offer someone thinking about a career or looking for a promotion in child care?

I would advise them that working in the early learning sector can be challenging however the rewards that you get far outweigh the challenges. I would also say to think about what you want to achieve by working with children and set yourself goals – goals keep you going and show not only your progression but your achievement.

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