Athol Road Kindergarten teachers Rhiannon Williams and Anita McDonnell had a simple reason to pursue an early childhood career: the children.
Rhiannon says her heart was drawn to early childhood while she was studying to become a primary school teacher. 'I feel that in kindergarten, you have so much more freedom to support children's learning at their pace and point of need.'
'Also, kindergarten teaching can be so much fun! I am always so surprised at how curious and clever 3-5 year olds are.'
Anita says she enjoyed work experience at a children's crèche in a gym when she was in high school. 'I enjoyed the connections that could be formed with younger children and the spontaneity that comes with working with this age group,' Anita says.
Rhiannon says she wanted to become a teacher because of the positive impact that her own teachers made on her when she was a "shy" child.
'I wanted to be a teacher, so that I could be 'that' person for other children who need it,' Rhiannon says.
Rhiannon originally studied to become a primary school teacher at university. 'I found the practical experience was the most helpful part of the course,' Rhiannon says. 'You learn so much about what type of teacher you want to become.'
Today, Rhiannon works at Athol Road Kindergarten and teaches about 88 children.
'They make me smile and laugh, and impress me with all the things they can do,' Rhiannon says.
'It's wonderful when parents tell you that their child has taught them something new that they learnt from kindergarten.'
Rhiannon works with her "partner-in-crime" Anita. Anita studied a Bachelor of Early Childhood at university. After working as a relief teacher, she found a job at the kindergarten. She then completed a fourth year of study which earned her a qualification in a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood). 'Returning to study after so many years was challenging, but in the end I was glad that I did it and found that my years of experience helped with the course work,' Anita says.
Anita says that she loves building relationships. 'Being able to give a young child a positive start to their experiences in an educational setting makes all of the hard work worth it.' Anita says. 'Having a parent say that their children loves kindergarten and wants to come every day is the best compliment.'
Together, Rhiannon and Anita teach the children, lesson planning and other paperwork collaboratively.
Rhiannon has taught three and four-year-olds and says she sees only positive results. Foundation teachers have spoken to Rhiannon about her previous students. 'They notice a big difference in children who have attended kindergarten,' Rhiannon says.
Anita adds that children who go to kindergarten early are 'able to regulate their emotions, language and communication skills, and motor skills in an environment that enables them to learn through play.'
Early childhood Reform
We are investing in
kindergarten for all three-year-olds – giving our children an extra year of learning, playing and making friends.
This change means reduced costs for many families and greater access to early learning for all children.
Three-Year-Old Kindergarten is the biggest social, economic and educational reform in early childhood learning in Victoria's history, and the roll-out will create 6000 new early childhood teaching jobs, including 4000 bachelor-qualified teachers and 2000 VET-qualified educators
We are providing
financial support to study and work in early childhood. You can be funded up to $34,000 for a bachelor degree or up to $24,000 for a post-graduate qualification.