Setting career goals? Lead Educator Mel shares how she's created an amazing career in early childhood education & care.
Amazing Graduate Melissa studied a Diploma of Early Childhood Education & Care and now works as a Lead Educator at a childcare centre in Brisbane, Queensland.
After studying early childhood education with us, many of our graduates are now enjoying a career that is rewarding, fun, flexible and full of possibilities.
If you’re thinking about your career goals, you may want to know what studying childcare is like, and if it’s the career for you.
That's why we had a chat with one of our past students, Melissa. She knows first-hand about setting goals and achieving them with our team.
After first struggling to complete her Diploma of Childcare with a different training provider for five years while she worked full-time (and raised young kids), she’s now thriving as a Lead Educator at a Childcare Centre east of Brisbane.
Here's what Mel had to say about her childcare journey.
Tell us about your career journey so far.
Melissa: I’ve been in the childcare industry for about ten years now. I first completed my Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care in 2009.
I signed up for my Diploma with a different organisation five years ago; I just didn’t have the support or drive to get it done. I switched and began studying with Amazing Education in 2019 – that’s what finally got me over the line!
I’ve worked in various childcare centres over the past ten years, but never as a Lead Educator. You need a Diploma for that, you see. Now though, I’ve become a Lead Educator at an early learning centre east of Brisbane in Queensland.
When did you know you wanted to work in early childhood education and care?
Melissa: Though I completed (and loved) work experience in childcare in Year 11, I went through a stage after high school where I felt unsure about it and pursued another path in administration.
That stage didn’t last long, though! After a few years, I came back to childcare because I realised that’s where my real passion was.
How did you know that you wanted to work in childcare?
Melissa: Simply, I just knew I loved working with children. You get to be creative and develop a bond, and I love watching the children grow and build their personality.
It’s so rewarding to help them create that personality, as well as develop their skills and passions.
I love playing with them, too! I get to be a kid again myself sometimes.
What do you like most about your day-to-day activities as a Lead Educator?
Melissa: I enjoy developing plans and programs that are born from the children’s own interests and what they like.
So, at the moment everything I’m teaching relates to a jungle theme, because the children were so intrigued by the animals we have in the room, mostly the lions, elephants, and giraffes. From there, I’ve developed a jungle theme in the room, which then feeds their interest in those animals and encourages further learning.
What’s different about being a Lead Educator?
Melissa: As a Lead Educator, I have the final say in what the children do at the centre every day. But honestly, I love working as a team with my assistant, and always involve her in program planning when she wants to be involved.
We work closely together, so if she comes up with a great idea, I’m more than happy to say, “let’s do it”, or “how about we tweak it to make it this way?”
You have more responsibility as a Lead Educator, of course, and that’s why some people prefer to be an assistant. But it really is rewarding when you see all of the work you’ve done come to life.
What did you like the most about your childcare study?
Melissa: Since coming on board with Amazing, I’ve had the most incredible support. My trainer Penbe was always cheering me on, providing positive feedback, and encouraging me to go harder and stronger to complete my Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care.
Did you have any challenges?
Melissa: As a full-time working mum, finding time was hard! I always came home tired, and I had my own kids’ activities to do. I had to work around my own lifestyle. So, my challenges were mainly finding the time to study and finding the energy to study.
How did you overcome these challenges?
Melissa: The support I received from my husband and my Amazing trainer definitely helped. But also because the coursework is flexible and online, I could fit it in with lifestyle. Though my husband helped here, too: he made sure I had the time and space to sit down on the computer at home and get it done.
Of course, he and my trainer Penbe kept encouraging me to stay motivated, too. But I learned to rely on myself for motivation as well, because at the end of the day, I wanted this career and I had to believe in myself.
What qualities do you think are most important for a childcare worker / educator to have?
Melissa: You have to love the job. You have to love being around children and you have to have patience. If you don’t have any of that, it might not the right industry for you!
What’s next in your career journey?
Melissa: Well, at the moment I’m not thinking about further study - I’m happy as a Lead Educator.
I do know that having my Diploma means that I have so many more opportunities, and I could go further into management. If that came about sometime down the track, I would consider it.
I think I’d like to enjoy just being a Lead Educator for a while first!
Thank you, Melissa, for sharing your journey with us! If you have any questions about studying childcare, please get in touch or give us a call on 1300 707 058.