Early childhood education and care, formerly known as childcare, are undergoing processes of both professionalisation (Thomas, 2012) and expansion (Department of Employment, 2012). Previously I shared a training needs study by two of my colleagues.
Interviewing an early childhood educator
This week I had a chat with one of the educators involved in the development of the new childcare courses, including the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care, Jyoti Sarkhot. Jyoti has worked as an Early Years Educator and as an Individual Support Educator for children with special needs with Gowrie Victoria. She has a variety of professional qualifications and has undertaken extensive professional development in caring for children with special needs.
Video: full interview
When I asked Jyoti what makes her so passionate about early childhood education and care, the first thing mentioned was the ability to make a difference in the holistic development and growth of children. She also explained that it can lead to a varied and rewarding career path. She began her career, she undertook a Certificate III course herself. She described it as giving a good foundation and helping her to understand the processes, regulations and requirements of her role as an early childhood educator. She added, “and of course, you can follow it through with higher qualifications the way I did, but trust me, it is such a rewarding experience, and there is never a dull moment”. I asked her about what the role is like, to which she replied, “you’re physically tired, I should say that, but at the same time you feel so energised! There are so many teachable moments and you work with children and… it’s very rewarding”.
Special needs and ASD
I asked Jyoti about her expertise and experience in working with children who have special needs and in learning about autism and whether she had incorporated what she had learned as she developed the course. She replied, “what ends up happening is, early years intervention is very essential because that’s the time when you can actually make a lot of progress with the children”. She then added “the industry representatives also validated that they do need exposure around these aspects from the educators who would like to join them. So what we have done is, in the Cert 3, we have chosen certain units which try to fill this gap in a student’s training”.
Jyoti said that she was combining her passion for this area with a genuine need there is for genuinely well trained and knowledgeable childhood educators, which is the motivation that keeps her going. As an educated migrant she saw early childhood education and care as a second career, but one that had continued to be rewarding. As a dedicated career pathway, she said, “the sky is the limit! Those who pursue it can go on to become a room leader or the director of a centre, or they can specialise in certain key aspects, maybe the documentation or the framework, and you can go from there”. She added that there were also options for those who want to balance their work with other aspects of their lives, including part time work.
I must say I felt thoroughly engaged throughout the interview. Jyoti was a fascinating person with whom to converse and by the end she had me wanting to take up a career in caring for children myself, though of course I, love the other work I do. I am sure that as a teacher Jyoti will go on to inspire many others in this field and I am convinced that inspired educators and carers will make a positive difference to children’s lives.
Author: David Webb
Department of employment 2012, Job Outlook, viewed 2nd February 2015, <http://joboutlook.gov.au/occupation.aspx?search=keyword&tab=prospects&cluster=&code=4211>
Thomas, Louise. New possibilities in thinking, speaking and doing: Early childhood teachers’ professional identity constructions and ethics [online]. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, Vol. 37, No. 3, Sep 2012: 87-95.