Angela Hardey

Child care professionals share a commitment to improving society by creating dynamic and nurturing care environments for Australia's youngest learners.

In this month's Child Care People we speak to Angela Hardey who works at Headland Park World of Learning on the Sunshine Coast QLD and the winner of the Australian Family Educational Experience Rising Star Award.
Angela Hardey – Headland Park World of Learning - Buderim QLD and the winner of the Australian Family Educational Experience Rising Star Award

C4K: What is your full name?

AH: My name is Angela Hardey and I am 23 years old.

C4K: Which centre do you work in and how many staff/children are in the centre?

AH: I work in the Headland Park World of Learning based on the Sunshine Coast, and we are a 75 place centre with five rooms ranging from six weeks to six years.

C4K: What is your professional background and career experience?

AH: I have been working in child care for two years. I started my employment at another centre within the company named Coolabah Early Learning based in Yandina. I began my employment there as a relief float and worked my way up to assistant, then group leader,

I was promoted to a second in charge role and then a position came up in another centre as director so I applied and was fortunate enough to win the position. I have been the director here for 10 months.

C4K: What attracted you to a career in child care?

AH: Having a son myself was a major reason for my interest in the profession. He was an infant when I began my career and I haven't looked back since. I love that the work that I do, and the work of my team influences children with their learning and helps to shape and prepare them for whatever is thrown their way in life.

I am a very social person so the encounters I share with the parents and children and the relationships that I build are very important to me and they honestly make my day. I love supporting families and I am forever looking for more opportunities to do so.

C4K: What does a 'normal' day look like for you?

AH: The beginning of every day is always kicked off with the meets and greets from the families, children and staff. Every day for me is different as I am always looking for new and exciting ways to improve the centre. We have just recently taken on the projects of repainting the centre, turfing our yards and revamping all of our rooms with new resources.

I don't consider my job repetitive as even though I have the same weekly tasks something new pops up every week for me to explore and act on. I love taking every opportunity I can to leave my office and go into a room, carry out a mat session or play tiggy with the pre-prep children. Coming from rooms, the passion to work hands on with the children is very much still alive and I grab every chance to do so.

I am surrounded by an amazing team and I have the pleasure to work for a great company. G8 education and its operations manager Belinda Currie literally took my under their wing as a fresh face to child care and from this opportunity I have grown into the employee, employer, and person I am today.

C4K: What makes your centre unique?

AH: We are different here at Headland Park because we take our adventures very literally! One day we make the decision to do something, the next day it's already begun. Repainting the centre was the first big project taken on by every staff member. Our company had offered to pay for this however I feel that to truly take pride in something we must play a part in it's becoming. So with spare time donated by all our whole centre was given a new fresh face.

This centre is 15 years old and when I came here 10 months ago it was clear to me that some tender loving care was needed. My staff are amazing and they love their jobs and consider our centre a home away from home, so my ideas for a face lift were taken on with open arms and implemented quickly. I have spent many weekends here and happily spent my own money on the service to create the warm and fuzzy environment we have now.

We are all very passionate about Early Years Learning Framework and have created our environment to suit. Our yard contains all the best natural resources as well as the games and activities that the children love. I have purchased many in room resources, created learning pods at the entrance of every room and a bamboo oasis in my front foyer. I have also held training nights at my centre for the staff to be trained by professionals about understanding and implementing the new framework.

C4K: What are some of the advantages of working in the child care sector?

AH: For me learning as parent I feel I can take what I have learned in the child care environment and implement these strategies at home. I also feel good knowing that my profession is creating a stable environment for children and helping them with their preparations for the future.

I have to comment that myself as an individual, having won the Australian Family Child Care Awards Rising Star has opened me up to all the opportunities child care has to offer. I now have my sights set high on what I wish to accomplish in this career path. I can safely say on a professional level that winning this award and being able to represent my company as well as be an ambassador for my age has been the greatest thing that's happened to me to date.

C4K: What are some of the biggest challenges facing the child care sector?

AH: Child care is going through several changes at the moment. I met with many workers in the child care industry at my awards ceremony and it was so interesting to hear their points of views regarding all of the changes. I embrace the changes to child care as I love what I do and will continue to do it throughout the changes that we are all facing.

C4K: How has your centre changed to deal with these challenges?

AH: During our staff meetings we review updated drafts and changes that will be made in child care as of 2012. I am open with my staff about the required changes and they feel they can approach me with any questions. I have hired a bachelor's degree qualified teacher in our service and we follow the kindergarten guidelines. All the changes we have made have been extremely positive for us.

C4K: What advice would you offer someone thinking about a career or looking for a promotion in child care?

AH: Child care is so rewarding. It is a career that will open up many opportunities for any one who aims to succeed. I have found my role in child care to be the most satisfying professional role I have taken on.

C4K: Is there anything else you would like to add?

AH: I am very grateful to my company G8 Education, staff and the parents and families who took me on in this role. Ignoring my age and experience they gave me this opportunity from which I have been able to move so far forward with my career on to accept a tremendous award and represent a beautiful centre

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