Educator in the Spotlight Kellie Tom
Educator in the Spotlight Kellie Tom
This month we introduce you to family day care educator Kellie Tom, from Orange Family Day Care in NSW. Kellie was recently announced as a regional winner of the Excellence in Family Day Care Award.
Which service do you work in? How many staff and children are in your service?
I work in Orange Family Day care and I have 17 children enrolled in my service and there are approximately 20 educators in our scheme.
What is your professional background and career experience?
I have been working in the childcare sector for the past 11 years and the last six years in Family Day care.
What attracted you to a career in the early childhood sector?
I was attracted to the idea of providing for and caring for children in their early learning years and being able to have an impact on our future generation.
What does a 'normal' day look like for you?
Busy! My service offers before and after school care. So we start early with individual learning experiences for our "schoolies" before driving them to school. My service is all about fun and learning through play and our daily focus is often on messy play, the kids love being outside in our mud kitchen, and water play, and I have a child focused play space with individually tailored activities to keep our little minds active.
What makes your service unique?
I currently use Kinderloop which allows for real time communication with families as the learning is taking place with parents being able to comment and provide feedback as well. My service focuses a lot on community participation and sustainability. We participate regularly in our local library story time; visit the museum for science and history sessions and this year we participated in NAIDOC week marches.
Sustainability is also a fundamental part of our learning and programming and we have our very own veggie garden and worm farm and are currently building a chicken coop in the hope to add some chickens to our garden. All our produce collected is used in cooking experiences and shared amongst our families.
What are some of the advantages of working in early childhood education and care?
Working in family day care I have the ability to care for other people's children while also caring for my own. It offers the perfect career and family balance. Working in the industry is also one of the most rewarding jobs you can have as you are essentially helping to mould our future generations.
What are some of the biggest challenges facing the sector?
I think for family day care educators it can be isolation. We don’t always have a lot of adult interactions and while working from your home is great it means you are not necessarily getting opportunities to socialise in the work place.
How has your service changed to deal with these challenges?
My service provides the children with the opportunity to participate in the community by visiting our local library for story time and our scheme offers a fortnightly playgroup session. I also offer mini playgroups from my service with other educators which allows for those key adult interactions. My service also runs regular networking afternoons for educators within our sector to discuss ideas on programming and planning, play spaces etc.
What advice would you offer someone thinking about a career or looking for a promotion in early childhood education and care?
If you are looking at entering family day care look at different schemes and find one that best suits your needs and personal philosophy. Each scheme is different so it's very important to find one that you can relate to. And have fun… it’s one of the best jobs in the world and one of the most rewarding.
Family day care isn't a job, it's a lifestyle and it's just a matter of making sure you balance your work and family equally, also allowing time for you. We must take care of ourselves before we can successfully care for the needs of others.
This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Thursday, 21 January 2021
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