We’re united by one purpose: to make a better world, with and for young people. Join our team, and you’ll get to do that every single day. There’s simply no greater feeling! We asked three of our people about the impact they get to make with the Y. Here’s what they want you to know.
Recognising and cultivating potential
We know every young mind has enormous potential, and fostering that is a huge part of what we do. Just ask Paula O’Bryan, Educator at Robinvale Preschool in far north-western Victoria.
“It’s my world to see the light switches come on and the children make new connections. It is such a special thing to share those moments with children and their families. And it means a lot to hear the parents say, ‘I didn’t know my child could do that,’ or, ‘I didn’t think my child would be able to understand that.’ We often underestimate what children can learn.”
Paula knows it’s an exciting time to be an Early Childhood Educator because the impact of our work is starting to be fully recognised.
“The way we educate and the way people look at early education is changing rapidly. Now’s the time to get involved because people are finally becoming aware of how much of a key role we play in children’s future learning.”
We don’t just work with children; we work with their families, and we have an opportunity to positively impact their lives too. That’s something Rosa Condello, Kinder Coordinator at the Y Whittlesea’s Orchard Road Community and Early Learning Centre, always keeps front of mind.
“I feel empathy and compassion not only for the children in our care but for their parents, too. Sometimes parents may be having a tricky morning or really struggling with their child. So, it’s about being mindful that coming through the door, every family has a different story. It’s helpful to spend some time each morning to understand what that story is. And parents respond when we acknowledge that.”
Rosa knows she’s making a difference when she gives parents the space to confide in her.
“Showing parents that you are there on a professional level means we can suggest strategies or provide feedback if needed. Sometimes parents don’t need that. Sometimes they just need someone to listen. Maybe they’re the only person caring for their child at home and need a few moments of adult connection to talk about their child. If you give them the time and opportunity, they will open up, and that means we can make more of a positive impact.”
Nurturing those who need it most
Sadly, not all children get the start in life they deserve, and some face far greater barriers than others. Alex Ham, Teacher at North Bendigo Preschool, is passionate about supporting such children. For her, it’s personal.
“I have a family member with a disability, so I’m really committed to working with children who need extra support. I think my experience has made me more understanding of what families go through and the support they need. So, inclusion is a very high priority for me.”
Every time Alex sees a child who’s struggling come out of their shell or achieve a development milestone, it’s an extra special moment.
“We’ve got a child at the moment who is very shy and doesn’t normally talk a lot. Yesterday, she started chatting away with all the other children and laughing, and it was just amazing to see! It made her mum very happy when I told her. That’s what we aim to achieve – a safe space where the children know they belong and feel trust in us.”