It’s not every day you get stumped with questions like “do orangutans fart?”.
But for some of the staff at Lady Huntingfield Early Learning and Family Services Centre in North Melbourne, it’s not so unusual.
To celebrate Early Childhood Educator Day, we went on field trip to Lady Huntingfield and asked some of the staff to share what they love most about their roles, and some words of wisdom.
We heard from Early Childhood Assistant Rifentik, Early Childhood Educator Geetinder, and Early Childhood Educational Leader Yung.
Here’s what they had to say.
What inspired you to become an early childhood teacher?
Rifentik: Before I moved to Australia, I worked with orangutans in Indonesia. When I moved, and started looking for a job I thought, ‘what can I do in Australia that’s similar to what I already know?’. The answer was easy: childcare.
As strange as it sounds, orangutans are very similar to young children. They’re smart, they’re cheeky and they’re curious.
Geetinder: I worked as a hairdresser for very a long time and missed a lot of time spent with my own children. After leaving hairdressing I immediately knew I needed to be surrounded by kids, and in a job where I could nurture and care for them.
Yung: I’ve always been surrounded by children – and one day, I just found myself wanting to make a career out of it. I just went for it, and now I’ve been in the industry for 22 years.
What’s the best part about working in the role you do?
Rifentik: English is my second language – parts of it are just as new to me as they are for the children. So, working in this role means we can all learn together, and I love that.
Geetinder: For me, it’s how curious the children are.
Every day they come up with some sort of unique and wacky question to ask. It’s fun and it keeps us all on our toes.
Yung: Having fun and learning together.
Has there been a standout moment from working at Lady Huntingfield Early Learning and Family Services Centre?
Rifentik: Every day the staff and the family welcome you and make you feel like you belong.
Geetinder: The heartwarming comments from family are always a standout.
Yung: It’s not a specific moment as such, but the feeling you’re building lasting relationships with children and their families each day. It’s something you can both feel and see.
At the beginning, it’s a small hello from the children – and within no time at all, they’re running from across the room to hug you.
What would you say to others pursuing a career in Early Childhood Education?
Rifentik: Two words: have fun.
Geetinder: Great choice – this is the most amazing career anyone could have.
Yung: Investigate your personal philosophy.
It’s important to remember you’re not just there to watch and safeguard children, you’re also there to teach them skills they’ll have for life.
A big thank you
Here’s to those who so often, put others first. Today is a celebration of you, your hard work, and immense contribution to the lives of Melbourne’s youngest residents.
Happy Early Childhood Educator Day.
Learn about how you can say thank you to an early childhood educator.
For more information, browse our Services for children and families.