Angela Ngavaine knows children. She knows how their minds work and what they need, and can even surprise parents with her insight.
That’s because Angela has worked in childcare for 25 years; a much longer time than many of the parents she deals with have been parents.
That experience means she knows a lot about the importance of a child's early years of development.
“The one thing I know for sure is that no child can be cared for, or taught, in the same way,” she tells Mamamia.
A trained primary school teacher, Angela's career path led her six years ago to join Only About Children (Oac) childcare centres as the Curriculum Lead.
"In my role with Only About Children, I ensure our philosophy about educating children as individuals is consistently implemented," Angela says.
"It’s very different to how things were when I began 25 years ago. There’s much more of an understanding of a holistic approach to educating kids in their first five years.
“Now, we don’t just tick off checklists – letter recognition, colours, numbers. Yes, that’s important, but we also look at the individual child and think about how they want to learn.
"We look at the child from all angles. It’s not only about following a formula for getting ready for school."
Angela explains that in recent years, more than ever, there’s been a recognition of the importance of how a child develops in the early years, and that their brain development at that time can have lifelong consequences.
"For example, we know now that a crying baby who's been left for a long time learns there's no one to trust or rely on - no one cares about their needs. And that becomes ingrained from a very early age," she explains. "So, what a child absorbs in the first years of life is vitally important."
Angela says that a holistic approach means that she also wants her team of educators at Only About Children to consider how a child engages socially with people (including their family), and how they can develop resilience.
"Resilience is everything. Being able to accept feedback is so important," Angela tells us.