Our Educator Spotlight series highlights some of our dedicated family day care educators and the wonderful work they do to enrich the lives of children in their care, families and their communities.
Today we shine the light on Lee from Warwick. Lee has been an educator with our Warwick and Districts Service for three years. Her family day care is called Lee’s Family Day Care Warwick.
So Lee, what inspired you to become an educator and open your own family day care?
I love seeing children grow and develop their personalities. It’s wonderful to watch them play, to see their seemingly endless imaginations and reach their milestones. I also needed to return to work, but also wanted to be with my own under school age children. I had first-hand experience of witnessing family day care with my own children and realised that could be the answer. I also felt my own children would benefit from learning to interact with others.
How would you describe your family day care and what makes it special?
I endeavour to provide a warm, welcoming and homely environment which is clean but with a ‘lived in’ appearance, while being safe and child friendly. One of my philosophies is that you get back what you give. I have always tried to get to know each child’s family.
My home is located in a developing area of the city and, although it’s smaller indoors, I have a large outdoor play area for the children, part of which is under cover. Outdoors there is a large covered sandpit, tractor tyres, swings and numerous types of bikes and other toys. I have chooks that the children always enjoy feeding and collecting eggs. Indoors there are considerable varieties of toys which I regularly alternate as well as dress-up costumes, books, blocks, puzzles, etc.
What is a typical day for you at your family day care?
Typically, the children are enjoying free indoor and outdoor play – bike riding, swings, see-saw, sand-pit, watering the garden, feeding the chooks, participating in craft activities, looking at books and being read to, attempting puzzles, dress-ups and the children telling me about their visitors, holidays and weekends.
What have you learned from the children in your care?
No two children are alike and each child is very much an individual. What one is happy doing another may not enjoy. They need variety to keep them interested and the effort you put in can bring boundless rewards.
What do you find most rewarding about working as an educator?
There are numerous rewards but the most outstanding for me is when a parent arrives to collect them at the end of the day and the child doesn’t want to go home. This has occurred on a number of occasions and it tells me that the child must feel safe, secure and cared about whilst in my care.
What advice would you have for other people wanting to start their own family day care business?
Become an educator because you get a lot of enjoyment from being with children. Although you’re your ‘own boss’ and can have flexible hours, be prepared to do a considerable amount of work in your own time. You must be organised, but be prepared for days when the best laid plans go sideways. Have a back-up plan in case Plan A fails!