REVEALED: CQ’s two best educators, as voted by you
WE ASKED who you thought the best educators were in Central Queensland, and the results are in.
Two carers from the Rockhampton Grammar School Early Learning Centre tied for the top spot: Senior toddler lead educator Leash Edwards and pre-kindy lead educator Melissa Gill.
Ms Edwards got started in childhood education after leaving school, and did a child care traineeship 26 years ago in Victoria.
She came to Rockhampton 17 years ago and began working at the grammar school in 2007.
She said she always had a passion for working with children and moved states on a mission to “change my life and have a bit of an adventure”.
“My philosophy has pretty much stayed the same since day dot,” she said.
“You’ve got to support the children in the changes that are happening in the world.
“I need to make sure that all the children that come through into my care are absolutely loved and nurtured, that their parents feel safe about leaving their children here.
“A big part of it is trust. It fills your heart with emotion every day.”
The most rewarding part of Ms Edwards’ job was seeing the children learn and discover things for themselves, “like little sponges”.
“I remember being a child and feeling like that,” she said.
“Learning is fun – it doesn’t have to be boring.”
Having been involved in children’s education for so long, Ms Edwards sees many of the kids grow up – some have even landed jobs alongside her.
“You get quite emotional when you see children that have been in your care when they were babies, and then they’re having their formals, finishing school, and getting jobs themselves,” she said.
“It makes you feel old, but it’s a pretty special sort of situation.
“Some of them say that you’ve been an inspiration, and they’re also inspiring me to see that they’ve come through and done the same thing.
About being nominated and voted one of Central Queensland’s best, Ms Edwards said she considered it an honour.
“It means a lot and it’s very special to think that there’s something you do every day that’s not just a job and it’s part of your life,” she said.
“I won’t be going anywhere for a long time.”
Ms Gill also got into the game early, starting child care straight out of high school about two decades ago.
A Rockhampton woman, she has been at the Early Learning Centre for 13 years.
She believes that children themselves should inform the work of carers.
“I very much believe in child-led education and following the children’s lead,” she said.
“Using their interests and their skills and extending on that to inform my curriculum.
“They still love using their imagination with sticks and rocks and very hands-on sort of learning.”
Consistently Ms Gill finds that the kids are rather independent.
“They are very capable learners and they will teach us what they need to learn,” she said.
“I’m also at the moment working with some of the children that I used to look after 20 years ago.
“It’s lovely to see them grow up and then do the same job that I do.
“This is my job for life. I love early childhood.”