How Alex Ham’s passion for learning inspires and empowers the next generation at the Y.
Alex Ham always knew she’d work with children. But she didn’t realise how fulfilling her career would be until she found the Y. As our dedicated Teacher at North Bendigo Preschool, Alex has built upon her strong foundations in the early learning sector. Now, she’s gaining new skills and growing in unexpected ways while doing what she loves most – helping children reach their full potential.
It can take years for some to decide what career path to take – but not Alex. At a young age, she knew her future would involve caring for children, and began working in the industry at 18. From nannying in London to working as a room leader, Alex’s varied career now spans more than three decades. In 2018, she stumbled across a job ad for the Y with just one day left to submit applications – and we’re grateful she did!
“I was looking for a role at a sessional kindergarten because I’d been in long daycare services for so long,” Alex says. “When I found this job, I had to apply ASAP – and I got the job! I started part time, and then I took over as Nominated Supervisor and Educational Leader.”
Years later, Alex is thriving at the Y. As a Teacher at our North Bendigo Preschool, she spends her days engaging with children, planning activities and supporting families and caregivers. It’s what she enjoys most, and it allows her to make a lasting impact on everyone who enters the centre.
“I love getting to know each individual child and their family. Especially when I’m able to support those who might be going through a hard time. For example, we can have children who would only engage in individual play or be quite uncertain in some environments. And then you see them playing with others and absolutely flourishing. It’s amazing seeing that transformation.”
Alex has worked in early learning for several years, and her own learning continues to strengthen. Most recently, she’s been building on her leadership skills and says the Y has supported her every step of the way.
“I love learning, so I do a lot of professional development,” Alex says. “I did the ECA (Early Childhood Australia) Leadership Program last year, and that was great. The Y always helps Educators engage in learning, and they provide us with several opportunities to keep growing, which is a high priority for me.”
Alex believes the Y’s investment in her learning is unlike any other. Keeping our people up-to-date with the latest and best practice is a priority – for our team’s development and the children in our care. Alex says her experience at the Y has centred around providing high-quality education for young people, which helps her do what she does best.
“Y Kinders is always striving for that. And it’s not just about numbers here. During COVID, some other centres put stress on their staff because of the ratios. Whereas at the Y, they really care about their Educators’ wellbeing. That makes a big difference to the way we work.”
As an Educator, Alex wears many hats. Just as children can be unpredictable, so can a role in early learning! So, Alex has to be quick on her feet and finds herself jumping into various situations on the daily.
“There’s a misperception that we sit and play with children all day. That would be wonderful! But it’s not the case. We’re here to educate children and support their families – so, we need a lot of skills. One day, you might have parents come in asking for advice on something that’s happened, and the next, you’re having hard conversations about children who may need extra support. You have to be a problem solver.”
It’s advice Alex gives to anyone interested in joining Y Kinders – as well as the need to be passionate and dedicated to your work. With those qualities, she believes the right person would thrive here – just as she has with us.
“I would definitely recommend the Y. There’s so much support – someone is always available when you need it. And if you’re having a challenging day, there are so many people there to help. That extends to your development as a professional. They continuously strive to better their practices and to keep staff informed. It’s one of the reasons why I keep coming back every day.”