Why choose to become an educator? There are many reasons for joining the early childhood sector. Some educators are intrigued by early childhood development, while for others, working with children carries a sense of fulfilment.

Educators have many responsibilities, including giving children the best start in life. It is more than observing and encouraging children to reach milestones but creating safe and secure environments where children thrive and develop knowledge and life-long skills.

There are also different career paths to becoming an early childhood educator. For example, senior secondary school students can start a career pathway combining work experience and studies, while others may prefer to finish their tertiary studies first.

You can also combine learning with doing while earning an income. For example, to meet educator-to-child ratios, educators who are “actively working towards” an ACECQA-approved qualification may be counted towards qualification requirements.

And while there are many enjoyable elements in early childhood education and care (ECEC), one aspect that our educators agree on is that being an educator is more than just turning up to a job.

Such was the consensus when we invited the team at Petit Early Learning Journey Caloundra to share their career journey, inspiration to become an educator and how they see their role within the sector.

 Joanne sits and reads to a group of children and reflects on becoming an educator.

On becoming an educator in early childhood education and care

Joanne Cooper, Lead Educator

I wanted to spend my son’s early years with him and always said I would enter the workforce when he started school. It was only by chance that I became an “Assistant Childcare Worker” as we referred to the role 35 years ago before shifting our terminology. I had applied for a cleaner’s position at my local early childhood service. To my surprise, I was offered casual work as an assistant.

I remember the feeling of excitement and yet, at the same time, trepidation about working with children and how or if they would accept me. On my first day, the sand pit looked like a safe place. “I know sand well, I can do sand.” It was at the sand pit where I would meet a family who had not long arrived from Spain. They too had just started at the service.

Their daughter was 4-years-old and starting in early childhood. As all parents do, they wanted their child to feel safe and happy. They were worried that she was just beginning to speak English. After they left, the child and I spent most of our day together. We didn’t need words to communicate, just each other to comfort and a hand to hold.

The next day an educator came looking for me in another room with the family. We greeted one another with a smile, the child took my hand and her mother said thank you and went to work. It was then that I realised children mattered and that this was the career for me.

I have been very privileged to have worked alongside so many amazing colleagues, mentors, families and children over the years. My role is no longer called, “Assistant Childcare Worker” but is an, “Early Childhood Educator, Diploma” in a “Lead Educator” role.

I still have the feelings of excitement and trepidation from 35 years ago but I also see myself as an advocate and voice for children and the early childhood profession. Although my journey has been long there is still so much more to learn, share and do.

We have our work around the environment, sustainability, our First Nations People, social justice, community and supporting the children in becoming the best they can – confident, capable and caring young people.

Is it a job, career, calling, vocation or profession? I don’t know, but what I do know is it is a feeling, a passion and it is not to be taken lightly. Being an educator is a path that I am proud to say I am still on. There is so much to do and my bucket list is for ever growing.

 Being an educator: Amy helps a young child pet a lizard and develop an appreciation for animals while two other children watch on.

Being an educator is a profession… and also a calling.

Amy Johnston, Lead Educator

I became an early childhood educator when I started my family daycare business. While working on the job, I completed my Certificate III and my Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care.

I became an educator to be with my children at a young age and still work. I discovered I enjoyed being in early childhood and could not imagine doing anything else now.

Being an educator is a profession. We are professional people with responsibilities that include the lives of many children. However, I believe that it is also a calling. As an educator, we love children and watching them develop. There is a special feeling when working with children.

Brianna who became an early childhood educator to support children, sits on the floor, reading to a child while another child sits near by holding a book. They are surrounded by books.

Becoming an early childhood educator to support and guide children

Brianna Picton, Educator

I participated in the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care course through my school after doing work experience at an ECEC service.

I became an educator to support and guide children. While gaining experience in the sector, I chose to further develop my knowledge of working with children and developing relationships to further my study and career pathway.

I see being an educator as both a job and a calling as I enjoy working in the early childhood education and care profession. And in further study pathways, I still wish to work with youth in different settings.

 Jasmin holds a child for photo op on Educators Day which celebrates those educators who choose an early childhood career.

An early childhood career is a meaningful profession that influences future generations.

Jasmin Brennan, Educator

I have always enjoyed working with children. From a young age, I volunteered to care for children after school, on weekends and school holidays. I did my work experience at an ECEC service  where I could explore my strengths and interests.

I then applied for a position where I could also work towards completing my Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care.

Educators share a special connection with children that requires much listening, caring, love and devotion. Seeing a child open up, grow, learn, and develop new skills is personally rewarding and satisfying and the reason I became an educator.

When you become an educator, you are choosing a meaningful profession that influences future generations. You need patience, skills, love for children and the early childhood sector. It is a role where you can grow and learn with children and advocate for change.

Sammy who believes working with children is a calling, crouches next to a young child and helps them to use a pair of tongs to serve fruit.

Working with children is a calling

Sammy Frohloff, Lead Educator

From a young age, I have always enjoyed helping my family feed and put the younger children to sleep. I loved babysitting my younger cousins and assisting our neighbours with their children.

I became an educator because of my passion for watching children grow and develop a sense of identity through their relationships and experiences. I love supporting them as much as I can.

My job as an educator is a calling, as I am devoted to seeing children learn and grow. But I also see it as a profession as it requires me to continue learning through professional development, keep up with regulations and policies to do with childcare, and adhere to ethical standards such as ensuring information stays private.

Three educators from Petit Early Learning Journey Caloundra who took different pathways to become an educator, stand smiling at the camera in front of a Petit ELJ umbrella. Behind them is a park.

Become an educator with Petit Early Learning Journey

While the pathways to become an educator differ, our educators share a passion and a calling to always put children first. While our main focus is on the growth and development of our children, we also place an equal emphasis on supporting our teams through professional development.

At Petit ELJ our teams are one big family. We encourage our teams to work collaboratively with each other, to share pedagogy and experience while forming meaningful and supportive relationships with families and children.

Satisfy your calling in early childhood.

Ignite your career today.