Educator in the spotlight – Judy Augustine
Educator in the spotlight – Judy Augustine
Every month we profile an outstanding early childhood educator to showcase the wonderful work happening around the country and to motivate and inspire other educators.
This week meet the delightful Judy Augustine from Starfish ELC in Blackburn South.
If you work with someone who deserves to be profiled email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know!
What is your name and which service do you work in?
Hello, my name is Judy Priscilla Augustine. Not many people know my middle name, but I love it! When I worked with babies, they often called me ‘Juju’ however the articulate three year olds I work with currently, can manage this fine. Some parents ask where I am from and whether I have another name. I tell them I am from Sri Lanka and am known as ‘Judy’. I am turning 53 years this year and still feel young!
I work at Starfish ELC Blackburn South which provides education and care to up to 89 children each day. We have approximately. 30 dedicated educators who work alongside me throughout the week.
What is your professional background and career experience?
I started my career in finance then moved into early education 12 years ago. I started at Starfish ELC as a student.
What attracted you to a career in the early childhood sector?
I always wanted to be a mum and when I had children of my own, my priorities changed.
I discovered my passion and pursued it. Teaching came naturally to me. My father and several of my siblings were teachers and I witnessed the rewards. I always wanted to make a difference in the lives of children; it is such a fulfilling career!
What does a ‘normal’ day look like for you?
A normal day commences with greetings, laughter, smiles and occasionally, tears, and progresses along with the ‘hundred languages’ of children.
What makes your service unique?
I love my job and my service has allowed me to be a part of a family of creative, passionate, dedicated, caring, motivated, brave, excited and inspiring people. Our program is derived from acknowledging history, children’s rights, families’ culture, community spirit, wonderings, identity, safety, responsibility and having respect and admiration for nature.
The program is debated, discussed, shared, decided on democratically by all stakeholders (educators, children, families, mentors, the leadership team) and modified systematically.
What are some of the advantages of working in early childhood education and care?
After families, being a role model in the children’s lives and watching them flourish in their learning and development. Also:
- Making a difference in the lives of children
- Being the voice for children’s rights
- Being a part and contributing to society
- Improving knowledge of the early years of childhood
What are some of the biggest challenges facing the sector?
Many people do not recognise the significance of early education due to the ignorance that can be associated when it comes to the formation of early education policies by government. We have difficulty in recruiting quality staff (there is a shortage) and the pay scale is not representational of the efforts and hard work educators put in.
In addition, there is not enough funding in the sector and a stigma attached with Long Day Care Centres – not being recognised as places of education but rather as ‘babysitters’, ‘child care workers’ there is an idea that we are not professionals/educators.
How has your service changed to deal with these challenges?
Families and educators are provided with opportunities to increase their awareness of the importance of the early years through seminars, webinars, workshops, podcasts, articles in newsletters/Facebook pages.
Through corresponding with local community members and establishing networks. Networking with educational providers, accommodating for student placements and through mentoring. Communicating at all levels of community to recognise and respect the essential work of early childhood educators.
We encourage families to identify their children’s needs and work together to gain funding to best support their development. Communication with families through parent-educator meetings, orientation visits, information evenings (Meet & Greets), pamphlets, newsletters, enrolment information is also useful.
How does the early childhood industry need to change to adapt to these challenges?
Through continuous reflection and quality improvement and through collaboration between private enterprise and public sector, with everyone working together to make change
We also need greater recognition of the importance of early education and educators
Uniformity in the sector.
What advice would you offer someone thinking about a career or looking for a promotion in early childhood education and care?
Teaching is a vocation and if you are a passionate advocate for children, it is your responsibility to embrace your work with an open heart.
Every career has its challenges; as humans we have the power to make a change in the world. Empower others; do not walk away –be a game-changer!
This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Monday, 30 August 2021
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