career profile | assistant educator

Amanda Clark first started her career working in the banking industry at the Commonwealth Bank. It was a great learning experience and after working in the bank for 5 years and working her way up to a Mortgage Lender, Amanda decided to try out the insurance world. Amanda held a number of roles within the claims department of CGU insurance until finally settling in the role as Assistant Underwriter in the Strata field. After a number of years working in this area and having 2 children, Amanda no longer felt passionate about her line of work. While she was thankful for everything she had learned and the relationships she had formed, she knew she had to start following her heart. Amanda studied her Certificate III in Children Services whilst she was pregnant with her daughter and now currently works as an Assistant Educator part time. Amanda thoroughly enjoys her new field of work and loves being able to watch the development of every child that she cares for. Amanda is continuing to learn about topics that she is passionate about and encourages other people to follow their passions in life, this is illustrated via her blog – Life in Review – where Amanda inspires women to learn to love their bodies from the inside out.

Amanda Clark, Assistant Educator, Early Learning Centres

Brief description of your role:
I assist and supervise in the high quality care of children of all ages. I help contribute to the development and implementation of the child care program and work under the general direction of my room leader. I make sure that the children have fun and learn in a safe and caring environment. !

So… what do you actually do?
On early shift: 5am – Wake up, have shower and get dressed. 5.30am – Make myself lunch and start packing kids lunches whilst eating breakfast. 6am – Wake up my daughter so I can do her hair for school (because Dad’s version just isn’t cool enough). Kick my husband out of bed if he isn’t up already. Feed the dog. 6:15am – Check bags are ready for school/kindy/work. Brush teeth and get my shoes on. 6.30am – Say goodbye and leave for work. 6.50am – Arrive at work, clock in and read any memo’s waiting. 7am – Start my early morning jobs – Take out bags to check points which include gloves, tissues, sunscreen, wipes and hand sanitiser. Set up the play yards, rake the sand pits, check for any nests, spiders etc. Clean the water bubblers. 7.15am – Help supervise and interact with the children who have arrived. Set up activities that the children will enjoy. 7.45am – Pre Kindy and! Kindy children go outside to play. 8:00am – Check nappies and do the toilet run. 8.15am – Pack up time. 8.30am – Head outside for a morning play. 9.00am -Morning tea time. 9.30am – Check nappies and toilet run. Help room leader transition children to mat for song and story time. Pack up tables, do dishes, cleantables and sweep floor. 10am – Set up programmed activity for the day. This could be anything from, sensory activities, to painting/drawing, Father’s day gifts etc. 10.30am – Put on sunscreen and move to outside play area. Check nappies and toilet run. 10.45am – Sweep and mop sleep area. Place beds on floor and make up children’s bed. 11am – Lunch time. 11.30am – Pack up tables, clean tables. Check nappies and toilet run and put children in their beds. Start patting children to sleep. 12am – (when most children are asleep). Sweep and mop eating area. Do dishes. Clean lockers, wipe down door knobs/handles/switches, clean toys, wipe bookcase and toy cupboards, wipe down home corner, clean bathroom. 1pm – lunch. 2pm – (most children are now awake) Pack up beds, check nappies and toilet run. Afternoon tea time. 2.30pm – Pack up tables, do dishes, clean tables and sweep floor. Sunscreen on and children move outside for play time with room leader. 2.45pm – Start afternoon jobs – Vacuum all mats, general clean of room and put everything away, take food scraps and rubbish bin outside. Place any group artwork on the table for parents to see when they walk in. 3pm – Join room leader to help supervise and interact with children as they play. 3.30pm Finish work. 4pm – Pick up youngest 2 kids from Kindy. 4.20pm – Pick up oldest from school PCYC. 4.30pm – Get home and unpack bags. Homework to be done. 4.45pm – After school/kindy snack and a play outside. 5.15pm – Inside for showers. 5.30 – Hubby usually gets home around now and starts cooking dinner (Yay! He’s a keeper!). Kids will play in rooms or toy room until dinner is ready. 6.15pm – Dinner time. 6.45pm – Clean up table and stack dishwasher. Kids go to the toilet and brush their teeth. 7pm – Story time. Both older kids get to choose a book to be read. 7.15pm – Hugs and kisses goodnight. Lights out. 7.30pm – Youngest (depending on the day) will usually nod off around now, sometimes closer to 8pm. 8pm – Have cup of tea and sit down to watch one of my favourite shows. 9.30pm – Have shower and prepare bags etc for the next day. 10pm – Check emails and social media. 10.30pm – Go to bed.

How did you get to your position of being an assistant educator?
After having my son, I realised that I wanted to do something I enjoyed and that was working with children. So after working in the banking and insurance industry for 10 years, I quit my job and studied my Certificate III in Children’s Services. I am currently deciding what certificate/diploma I will study next to further my career. !  Have you always wanted to work with children?
I have always loved children but I didn’t realise that I wanted to work with them until I had my own children. !

What do you love about your role?
I love that I am able to be apart of a child’s learning and development and watch them grow into beautiful little people. It really is an amazing journey to witness.

In your current role, what has been your biggest achievement?
My biggest achievement, which may not seem much to some, is building a strong and friendly bond with the children. I love when a child comes into the room and they get excited to see you and run over to say hello and give you a cuddle. Also, being able to share their wins and accomplishments with them and celebrate together.

Over your career, what has been your ‘love this’ moment?
The moment when I quit my job that just paid the bills to work my way to the job that I love.

What would be the least favourite aspect of your role?
Not that I mind so much but changing nappies would be the only part that I wouldn’t mind not having to do if I had the option lol. But again, it really doesn’t bother me. After having 3 kids, changing nappies is just another everyday thing for me.

Any advice for anyone aspiring to work with children / education?
If you have that niggling feeling that you want to work with children, then give it a go! Assistants/Educators are always in need as the day care industry is growing so as long as you have the qualifications and the heart, then you should be able to find employment. Working in child care is a very rewarding career and you will love the bonds that you make but remember it can be physically demanding. You are constantly on your feet all day and have to be alert at all times to supervise and entertain the children (plus clean in between) so it can be a little exhausting at times. Also yes, some children will challenge you and not everyday will go as planned, but if you have that passion and love for children, none of that will even bother you. I wouldn’t change back to my previous role for anything in the world =)

What a fabulous career profile – doesn’t it make you feel so inspired to take that leap and follow your dreams… Anyone interesting in working in the early learning environment – please join the conversation below. And don’t forget to check out Amanda over at life in review

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