Meet the Centre Manager of Victor Harbor World of Learning
“My favourite part of our role is being there for the children each and every day.”
I began my career in early childhood education and care in 2008 and started working at Victor Harbour World of Learning in 2010. I hold a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education and Diploma in Leadership and Management. My experience in child care began in 2008 as a trainee educator, and since this time I have progressed in my roles and now am the Centre Manager.
Working in Early Childhood has become a strong passion of mine and has been something I continually want to learn and grow in. Being part of education, I feel our learning is never complete, our understanding and views can continually change and shape the way we are as educators. My favourite part of our role is being there for the children each and every day, sharing in those moments of learning and discovery knowing that we played a part in them developing that understanding.
Being part of a learning environment enriches children’s learning as there are so many different levels to their learning – they learn from the educators, the environment, and their peers. Being in an early childhood education setting means children are benefitting from this shared learning experience and have opportunities through resources and educators’ qualifications and knowledge to further develop skills and their own understanding. For instance, our Kindy Room have been focusing on learning about their different emotions, exploring a wide variety of these rather than the typical happy, sad, and angry etc. As part of this learning they have learnt through stories, experiences (such as our Early Childhood Teacher bringing their dog in for the day and observing their behaviour) and conversations that are facilitated.
We have many long-serving team members who have worked at Victor Harbor for 7 years and more. We also have newer team members who have joined our team and work collaboratively to uphold our values and to continue on being true to who we are at Victor Harbor. All of our educational team are members of our local community, some born and raised in the area and have lifelong connections that ensure that community feel is provided within the service. We are the type of centre were you feel welcomed and part of a bigger family from the start. We ensure everyone is familiar with every child at the centre regardless of which room they belong.
The best part of being a Centre Manager is supporting the team and ensuring the team feel as though they belong and can become the educator they want to be. Each educator is just as valued as another at our centre, as each role plays an integral part into the services we provide and supports each family and child in their success of loving to learn and grow.
We pride ourselves on our health and safety standards at Victor Harbor and this is always commented on by our families. Presentation is a big part of us and we pride ourselves on setting this standard consistently each and every day. As part of our child protection statement I will empower children, young people and families to be heard and to participate in decisions that affect them.
We are always there for families and their needs; no request is too big or small. We support families entering the centre – we sometimes see families struggling to bring all their children in at once so educators will often go and help them, and same in the afternoon to get safely back to their cars etc. We have some children who battle with separation anxiety, but we set a routine up that works for them and takes the pressure away from the family. When children are distressed, we know how hard this can be for families to leave and not be concerned, so we always follow up with a phone call to let the family know how they are going. We aim to hold regular events throughout the year to ensure a consistent approach between home life and the centre.
During the initial orientation it is about being authentic and being a parent myself I understand the feeling of putting your child into care and it being the right decision. It is not about it being a rushed process and getting the booking, we work with families on how they feel. I always encourage families to do orientation visits before they officially start – and I stress this is just as important for the parent/caregiver as it is for the child. They must feel comfortable on that first day leaving their precious little ones with us, just as much as the child needs to be ready for the transition as well.
I feel it is so important to know the families and children, so I endeavour to always use names and be familiar with anything going on in their lives, it is about taking the time to genuinely show we care about each and every single person that walks through our door.
Our tours are tailored to each family, it is a case of being prepared for the tour and knowing who we are talking to. We take our times on tours, allowing families to observe practices and interactions within the environments. This gives your family the chance to see who we are, it is raw and shows this is truly who we are. Each tour pack we ensure that the information we provide verbally is also documented down for families, as we know the process can be quite overwhelming and when you leave you may not remember all the information provided. By having the tour pack available for after means families can reflect on their tour, ask further questions and make a well-informed decision on the care for their child/ren. Our biggest goal on tours is to ensure families are happy and feel supported from the moment they step foot into the centre, so we openly offer the space and time for them to complete enrolments at the centre were we can happily assist if need be.