Further your early childhood career

Kelli’s story
Early childhood teacher

I grew up on a farm near Kenilworth, nestled along the banks of the Mary River. I guess you could call it a ‘free range’ childhood. I relished exploring, fishing, riding horses and caring for cows, pigs and chooks. I babysat local children and treasured visits from younger cousins, all of whom enjoyed the sanctuary of the farm. When the state pre-school opened, I was delighted to be allowed to help out. Looking after kids and animals came naturally to me; it never felt like a chore.

 Studying early childhood education seemed like the obvious next step. I started at Yeronga Park Kindy in 1987. Not unlike all those years ago on the farm, I feel very connected to our environment. We explore the parkland behind and the kids pay close attention to the wildlife, how the trees change through the seasons etc.

 The kids are learning to observe and respect their local area, in a way that is very natural. We’ve also been able to develop an enchanted garden, with secret spaces and endless opportunities for discovery. We have chooks and learn about the variety of creatures that share our spaces.

 We trust the kids in our environment. With our support, they extend themselves and have a part in directing their own learning. The emphasis on nature play fits for me, and the benefits for the kids are compelling. I might be a long way from the farm, but I’m very much at home with the kids in our beautiful, inner city, Kindy.

 Whether you are already an early childhood educator or just starting out in your early childhood career, an early childhood teacher degree will open up your professional career.  Find out more


Alexis Spencer
Manager – Early childhood workforce

My Indigenous Grandma had a long-lasting influence on me. She nurtured us and, in her quiet way, shared all sorts of knowledge. I guess you could say she was one of my earliest educators. So, it was no surprise that, when I was four, I announced, “I’m going to be a kindy teacher” and, of course, I ultimately did follow that path.

 My husband was in the military and my early childhood education qualification allowed me to keep building my career, as we moved across states and the Northern Territory. I enjoyed a variety of classroom and leadership roles, in both long daycare and kindergartens, and balanced this with five kids of my own, working part time in some phases.

 Teaching called to me and the mobility and flexibility it offers has been a wonderful bonus. Then, an opportunity arose to grow professionally. I saw myself being a lifelong educator, but not necessarily in the classroom forever.

 Now, I influence not just the 25 beautiful kids in front of me, but the educational world of 200 000 kids from all around the state. I play a part in guiding the next generation of teachers. I’m driven to make sure all children are left with cherished early memories; that they experience success, think positively about their future and feel a sense of connection that nurtures their spirit and character.

 That’s what my Grandma gifted to me, and it’s what I ‘pay forward’ as an early childhood educator.

Find out about the range of leadership and management roles in early childhood education that exist outside a service.

 

Published — 15 May 2019 Last updated — 21 May 2019

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