Have you ever wondered what the Assistant Director does at an Early Childhood Education and Care service? You might be surprised to discover that it is a lot different to an administrative assistant role. At Petit Early Learning Journey the Assistant Director is a senior leadership position that works closely with the Centre Director.

At times, the Assistant Director is required to step in and assist the overall service operations in the absence of the Centre Director. They closely collaborate with the leadership team to provide effective people leadership and educational direction delivering on quality outcomes for education and care.

This month, we interviewed Assistant Director Kihra Millard at Petit ELJ Caloundra on her role at our Sunshine Coast service. Kihra discusses:

How did you come to work as an Assistant Director in early childhood education and care?

“My journey started while I was at school studying for my Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care and working at a local childcare centre a few days a week.”

“After I left school, I started full-time work and studying towards my Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care. I became a Lead Educator. During this time, I had the support of others to develop further knowledge.”

“That’s when I started stepping into other roles and responsibilities to work towards my role as Assistant Director. I became an Assistant Director about three years ago and started working for Petit ELJ Caloundra 17 months ago.”

“I wanted to become an Assistant Director because I had been in the sector for quite some time, and I saw many things my personal philosophy did not agree with.”

“My philosophy is very much all about the children, the families and the educators. Unable to give the support I desired, I wanted to find a role and a company where I could do that.”

“This is why I became the Assistant Director at Petit ELJ Caloundra. I can give the children the support they need in their learning and development and assist their families. And I can collaborate with the the educators to enable a centre that supports the community.”

Describe a typical day in your role as Assistant Director

“On a typical day in my role, we greet all the families. Having conversations supports new parents dropping their baby off for the first time or we can help parents with their third child who may have had a rough night.”

“If I am not doing that in the morning, I am on the floor supporting with ratios and engaging in meaningful experiences with the children.”

“Once all the Petit ELJ Caloundra team have arrived, I step into the office with Centre Director Douglas Arnold and complete the day-to-day jobs. It may be:

  • Registering and inputting enrolments into our customer management system.
  • Touching base with families that have just toured with us.
  • Completing tours.
  • Supporting our teams with professional development.
  • Preparing and facilitating different community experiences throughout the year.”

Describe three aspects of your leadership role that you enjoy the most

1. “Supporting the team of educators that I work with. — I enjoy helping the team at Petit ELJ Caloundra. We have several educators that I have referred as team culture is so influential.”

“I have worked in early childhood education and care settings where the environment could have been nicer. A negative team culture results in educators not getting the support they need. I reflected on these situations, and thought about how I would do things differently to support my team to create a supportive and positive culture.”

“My motto is if we do not have happy children, families and educators, we do not have a Petit ELJ Caloundra community.”

2. “Community events — I love getting out and about in the community to build relationships with educators from other centres and to grow my knowledge in different and new areas or provide families with more support.”

“I also love getting out into the community because it allows our local community to see all the hard work, growth, and passion Petit ELJ Caloundra has for children’s learning and care.”

“Under Eights’ Week at Eleanor Shipley Park, Moffat Beach is coming up again. This time last year, our presence persuaded our Education and Practice Advisor Julie Kerr to apply for the role. Petit ELJ is a proud sponsor of the event.”

3. “The children — It makes me so happy to spend time on the floor and be present with the children. I do not have favourites, but it’s no surprise that you will mostly find me in the Baby Boulevard studio supporting the educators and children.”

“Again, I get to support the children and those families dropping their baby off for the first time.”

What professional and personal development support and training has Petit ELJ provided you as Assistant Director?

“I was lucky enough to be selected to attend the Early Childhood Australia (ECA) conference in Canberra in 2022 alongside several other Assistant Directors, Directors, Educational Leaders and Operation Managers from Petit ELJ.”

“Not only did I bring many new ways of thinking and ideas back to the centre to support our community and the environment, but I also made many professional connections with other leaders who work for Petit ELJ.”

“As a result, I feel more confident connecting with them, running ideas by them and asking for support in the different areas that Petit ELJ Caloundra is researching.”

“During the ECA conference, I learnt about a Landcare Grant that Woolworths offer to centres. We are waiting to hear from Landcare Australia to see if we have received this grant which we will use to obtain a native bee hive for our garden. So, stay tuned!”

What has been your most memorable experience in your Assistant Director role?

“My most memorable experience as an Assistant Director was recently when Petit ELJ Caloundra went through the Assessment and Rating process. This was one of my many times going through Assessment and Rating, however the first one in this role.”

“Once the results came through, we were so excited to learn that we had received “Meeting NQS” for the first time across every category!  I enjoyed sharing the news with our team. It showed everyone’s hard efforts, knowledge and growth had paid off. ”

Grow your career with Petit Early Learning Journey

Take your career in a new direction with Petit ELJ. We pride ourselves on our authentic and enthusiastic supportive community of like minded early childhood professionals who are dedicated to children’s education, care and wellbeing.

Our educators are carefully selected to create engaged and passionate teams who embrace a learning environment that includes ongoing professional and personal development. We work with you to provide a work-life balance where you feel supported and part of a friendly, supportive community.

Are you ready to make a positive difference to your life and that of our children and families?

Learn more about our careers.