real life

A thank you to early childhood educators everywhere.

Early Childhood Educators are some of the lowest paid workers in our community. They take on the largely thankless task of caring for our youngest children. Today is Early Childhood Educators Day, and a chance to thank the (mostly) women who care for and teach our children.

My children, William and Claire, like children in early childhood education across the country, are currently in the wonderful care of Lucy, Nicole, Valerie, Mikayla and their staff.

When William was just 12-weeks-old, I was hit by a wave of sadness. Someone once described having a baby as a great joy and a rude shock, while gazing at the baby in my arms and I knew instantly that this was true.

I was overjoyed to have William in my life, but I found myself grieving for my old life, where I was in charge of my future and footloose and fancy free.

"I was overjoyed to have William in my life, but I found myself grieving for my old life, where I was in charge of my future and footloose and fancy free." (image via iStock)

A baby instantly yanks control from you, wresting it to themselves and leaving you helpless in response and a whim to their needs. I cried every day for a week until I finally decided to go back to work.

I had no idea what to expect from childcare or from the educators that would look after my baby. But I quickly found myself in awe of these people who had chosen (despite the low wages and a somewhat limited career path) to spend their days with tiny people teaching and nurturing them.

It didn’t take long for me to realise that as William would spend nine hours a day in the company of his educators they would become very important people in his life. We formed a parenting team around William, working together to bring up my little boy.

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William is four now and while his educators have never been just carers, the women he spends his days with are now his teachers. They are entrusted with the task of getting him ready to start school, mentally and emotionally, and building the foundation of his educational future.

"William is four now and while his educators have never been just carers, the women he spends his days with are now his teachers." (image via iStock)

It turns out I’m not built to be a stay at home mum, so baby Claire, who is now 10-months-old, has been at childcare from 14 weeks. When I pass Claire over to her lead educator, Claire leans in to snuggle into her. She is delighted to see the woman who mothers her, carers for her and teaches her while I go to work.

Just as with William, this woman, her team and I are working together to bring up my baby girl, sharing our observations and planning her days.

I lean on these women, to help me and sometimes to guide me. I’m incredibly grateful for their skills, their expertise, their dedication and the love they show my children every day.

To early childhood educators around Australia, and to the women who are looking after my children right now, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Are there early childhood educators you want to thank today?

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