kids

'I've worked in childcare for 25 years. Here's what I've learned about children.'

Only About Children
Thanks to our brand partner, Only About Children

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."

Things are changing in childcare - for the better. Image: Oac

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.

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"It's about self-awareness, understanding where they can grow – and yes, those concepts should be introduced at a young age."

Combining early childhood research along with her own experience, Angela has come to believe that the environment in which a child learns is of also significant in a child's first five years.

"My approach is that childcare now is not just a 'babysitting' service," she says. "A child wants you to look at them and think, what can I do for this child? What are they curious about? What is the foundation they need for the future?"

Angela is certain it's always different from one child to the next.

"This is what makes our approach to learning so special, we focus not just on early years education, but equally every child's social skills, emotional wellbeing, health and nutritional needs," she explains. "We're the only childcare provider to offer this truly holistic approach as part of our early childhood philosophy."

As the Curriculum Lead, Angela works closely with other in-house allied health, music, Spanish language and active program managers to ensure the daily curriculum and offering is implemented throughout the day to support the healthy development of every child in their care.

But one of the key differences, she notes, is that it's all delivered by caring and dedicated educators that the children spend the day with.

"We used to have people come into our centres to teach the children music, for example. It was 20 minutes on a Friday morning. And it wasn’t enough," Angela says.

"We decided to give our educators the skills to teach the children, music Spanish language and active programs tevery day – so the kids have the chance to be exposed to concepts and activities whenever they’re interested throughout the day and week."

The language offered is Spanish, because, as Angela explains, learning one language at a young age makes learning languages in the future easier.

"It’s so important to think about the overall development of a child, rather than focus on an activity to create a short-term outcome."

Angela empathises with parents in the world of 2020 – this is a complex and often confusing time.

"Parents are more time-poor as well as more educated than ever, and it’s created a reliance on early learning experiences outside the home," she says.

"I think COVID-19 has helped parents see the value and importance of a true partnership with educators and their child's care. Also, the uncertainty has led to the acknowledgement that the future isn’t certain – professional paths are less predictable.

"It makes a holistic approach to raising a child all the more important."

Only About Children enrolments for 2021 are open now. Visit www.oac.edu.au/why-choose-us/ for more information.

Image: OAC/Supplied.

Only About Children
Only About Children is more than childcare. Our holistic approach to early learning is specifically designed to encourage each child to reach their full potential. We offer dedicated facilities and programs for Nursery, Toddler and Preschool/Kindergarten children. In each of our campuses, everything your child needs is inclusive within our daily fee. This includes dietitian-designed meals, allied health support, dedicated music, Spanish language, active programs, as well as nappies, formula, cot linen and more. Call 138 622 or visit oac.edu.au to book a tour and learn how Only About Children can give your child the best start to life!
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