It’s true what they say: it takes a village to raise a child. I’ve been an early childhood educator for over five years. Every day at sunrise, I walk through the centre gates to educate, entertain, support and care for a group of special little people who will one day be big people; taking on life’s joys and challenges, and shaping the world they live in one decision at a time.
Every day brings new surprises
The chance to make a difference in a child’s life and be a part of their journey is a responsibility I am so proud to have. It may sound cliché, but the work of an early educator is truly unlike any other job. Every day really is different – and each day comes with its own set of special moments; giggles, tears, cheekiness, learning progress and everything in between.
Of course, there are the important day-to-day tasks like safety checks, set ups, written observational records of all the children’s behaviours, preparing food, changing nappies … the list goes on! But, those aren’t the things that make you a great educator.
Reflecting on the day
When the centre goes quiet and our last little friend has gone home, the other educators and I sit down to think about each child’s day, preparing their learning diaries and looking for ways in which I can be of better help to them as they grow into themselves. These minutes of silent reflection are my favourite. Often it’s when the best solutions and ideas come to me; like a simple activity that demonstrates teamwork, or perhaps it’s a game designed to help children learn the art of sharing – which can be a hard concept for our little friends to understand at the tender age of two!
Things that leave me feeling like I’ve really aced the job? Being a consistent support for the kids struggling with intense feelings, guiding parents through challenging behaviour to a healthy outcome, facilitating a major learning curve where you see that ‘click’ in their clever little minds. This is what really keeps me getting up before dawn and coming home long after dark. I’m exhausted but filled to the brim with purpose.
From little things, big things grow
Some of our families have been with us from when their babies were just six months. I’ve been there through their progression from nursery, toddler, pre-kindy and then kindergarten … I’ve shared in the joy that is their first days walking on their own two little feet, witnessing their first words and seeing them become their own little person as quirky personality traits begin to show themselves. Every day I leave work with a full heart, which is more than can be said for many other jobs – and for that I know how lucky I am.
Knowing I’m actively involved in creating future leaders who are compassionate, courageous and willing to learn makes all my effort worth it. Creating a safe and supporting space where the children feel comfortable to express themselves in is so important to me; the sad reality is that there are thousands who never experience this, which only adds fuel to my fire.
Working with little ones is always a rollercoaster, and this year has been a mega-coaster for everyone. As educators, there is no better reward than a thank you from a parent. It’s the equivalent of a gold star in our chore charts. So this week, please take a moment to thank the educators in your life – it really means the world to us!
This post was written by Alice Micklewright, Educator at Little Scholars School of Early Learning, Burleigh Heads.
With nine Little Scholars Centres spanning across Queensland, family-owned and operated, Little Scholars leads the way in providing exciting experiences and activities for children to learn through play.