The Nurture Nook Spring 2019 Educator Spotlight Jessica McKinnon 600x423

The Nurture Nook (Spring 2019)

What drew you towards working in early childhood education?

The decision to work in Early Childhood Education always seemed like the path I was destined for. From the age of 12, I used to babysit the children in my street for $2 an hour after school and on weekends. It was my passion and it never felt like work. After 15 years in the profession, I couldn’t imagine myself not working in Early Childhood Education.

What is your fondest story that makes you proud to be in your chosen vocation?

There are several stories that make me feel proud to be in Early Childhood and my proudest moments always stem from the gratitude of children, staff and families. I cannot put into words how honoured I feel to have been a part of some many people’s lives. The impact that they have had on me and the lessons I have learned with and from them over the years have made me the person I am today. The memories I have from my time at Jacaranda Cottage are some of the most powerful memories I have and they will last with me forever.

What is the biggest challenge you face as a Nominated Supervisor/Educational Leader/Room Leader/Educator/Teacher?

I think the biggest challenge as a Director and Nominated Supervisor is the constant pressure you are under. There are so many different roles you have to fulfil and that can take a toll on you – your mental and physical well-being. I think it's really important to make sure you take the time for yourself so you can be the best version of yourself for others. I was lucky enough to recently attend a Director’s retreat in Byron Bay hosted by CELA. There I met some amazing people from all different fields of Education and heard their stories. It was an experience I took more than I ever could have expected from. They said go in with an open mind so that’s exactly what I did. The support you received from people you had just met was incredible. It was nice to know that although you can sometimes be under this immense pressure in your role that there are people out there to support you and who have so much knowledge and experience to share.

If you could change anything in the early childhood education and care sector that would bring enormous benefits for children and their parents, what would that be?

I think that both children and their parents would benefit most from a reduction in the cost of childcare. I think that all children should have the opportunity to attend some form of quality early childhood education. With the cost of childcare so high, especially in cities, there are so many families that just can’t afford it. Early Childhood Education has so many benefits and it’s only going from strength-to-strength with services like Be You and KU Inclusion Support assisting and educating centres to better support children and families. 

What do you (really) think of your approved provider? Or what makes you stay on with your approved provider?

I consider myself lucky. I have a lot of respect for my approved providers and over the 14 years I have been at the centre working different roles I have come to think of them as family. There are so many factors that contribute to my reason for staying with the one approved provider for so long including the passion for Early Childhood Education the two sisters, Cathy and Linda share, the holistic philosophy, the team of educators I get the privilege of working with each day and the children and families that attend the centre. Cathy and Linda are always striving to provide a high quality long day care centre which requires them to put in a lot of time and effort and I respect them for this. Don’t get me wrong, we constantly debate about the best way to do things but that’s a part of what I love. It’s so important for me to feel like my opinions are valued and I always get that at Jacaranda.