If you are looking for some inspiration to setup your own family daycare areas and activities then keep reading because this blog series is for you!
I regularly spotlight some of the wonderful work that professional family day care educators do here in Australia and also overseas.
We take a peek into their home based early years environments, talk about why they love what they do and even share a few of the unique challenges that only this role offers.
If you are a long time reader you may remember that we did a similar series way back in 2016 which you can read about HERE.
Last month I put the spotlight on Little Natures Family Day Care and this month I’m continuing to highlight some of the wonderful work that professional family day care educators do all around the world.If you missed last month’s Educator Spotlight you can catch up HERE.
Family Daycare Areas & Activities - Homegrown Learning Studios
I’m excited to continue our family daycare areas series by putting the spotlight on Shelby Jordon from Homegrown Learning Studios. Shelby is a member of our Empowered Educator Facebook Community and is always sharing her wonderful ideas with us.
What is your Family Day Care Service Name?
Homegrown Learning Studios
How long have you been an educator?
I have worked in early childhood education for almost a decade.
I started by taking on a traineeship completing my certificate three in early childhood education and care.
Before running my family daycare, I was working as the room lead in a traditional early learning service.
What qualifications and experience do you have?
I currently hold my certificate three in Early Childhood Education and Care. I completed this via a traineeship. The traineeship gave me the opportunity to complete my studies whilst working in an early learning service. I'm almost finished my diploma but unfortunately the pandemic has made it incredibly hard to finish.
I have also taken a range of professional development courses and currently undertaking The Curiosity Approach accreditation training. I was inspired by a previous manager who really understood play based learning and introduced me to the company and its educational philosophy.
What is your philosophy regarding working with and caring for young children?
My philosophy is, it's my job to protect and advocate for authentic play and exploration for early years children. We need to protect the Child's right to play before they don't have that time anymore. We need to advocate for self expression and the right to choose how they play and what they engage in.
Children who engage in play based learning won't fall behind academically. Math, reading, writing, social and emotional development have their roots starting in play.
We learn these skills and the foundational skill to write, add and subtract daily through the things we touch and explore.
I'm very passionate about protecting authentic play in early years.
Challenges & Benefits For Family Day Care Educators & Children
What is your biggest challenge working in this sector?
If I look back at my time in early education in Australia I think being taken seriously as an education professional has been one of the hardest challenges. People really do think all we do is babysit. I'm a huge advocate for being taken seriously as a sector and highlighting all we do to improve education, care and wellbeing outcomes for the children we see daily.
Another challenge would be burn out! I have unfortunately had bouts of pretty bad burn out in the industry. I think it's much more common in larger service based care. The demands of huge rooms can be a lot to take on at times. Especially mixing a global pandemic into the mix.
What do you feel are the biggest benefits to children attending a family day care service like yours that the community and families might not be aware of?
One of the biggest benefits of family daycare Is the smaller group size. The children and families really become one big family, with a deep sense of community. Your child will have the benefit of the single educator and strong bonds between child and educator develop.
Additionally, I have had the chance to have sibling groups together. Usually siblings are split and placed in their age range rooms in traditional service based care.
In family daycare siblings get to stay together and learn from and support each other. Not only is it heartwarming to see, it's also comforting to the children and to families. The continuation of an educator caring for multiple children in one family without a change every six months to a year.
Being in a family home means the environment naturally feels welcoming and homely. You feel a sense of being safe, protected and nurtured. It's a calmer, less chaotic environment.
One of the bigger benefits of a smaller ratio means more time to really dive deep into their individual interests. I absolutely adore the children and families in my care and love that being a smaller group, I really, really know the children and their families on a deeper level.
It's been much easier to create a sense of community and engagement with the wider community in a family daycare.
Currently I'm building relationships with a family daycare provider in America. The group have been making artwork to send over in a big package and we will be getting a package back. Telling us all about their family daycare space and about the children themselves. Big projects like that are something you can really see through to the end, sometimes those ideas get lost in larger settings.
I love seeing our group and witnessing real authentic play unfold, seeing them negotiate their roles in play and communicate their needs and wants.
What made you decide to work in early childhood education?
Admittedly, I didn't think I would end up in early childhood education, but I'm glad I stayed. I fell into it from the recommendation of a friend.
I stayed because I loved watching young people learn new and exciting concepts for the first time and getting to be a part of those special moments.
As I grew to understand what play really was I felt I needed to stay so I could support others in that play based journey. I wanted to connect with other like minded people in the industry to learn from them and offer my ideas.
Ultimately I decided to work in early childhood education for the children.
What advice would you give yourself if you could go back to your first year as an ECE?
Not every early learning space is for you! Find managers and a workplace that supports and uplifts you and learn to advocate for yourself.
Learn to say no and understand you deserve to work in a workplace that's respectful of you as an individual. If it's running you into the ground it's probably not the place for you.
Most importantly, never stop learning. Even if you complete your diploma, certificate or degree. Listen to the podcasts, read the information on websites like The Empowered Educator, read up on different early childhood theorists, look up early education in different countries.
Read about other cultures and how they believe raising children should look like. Pull information from a range of places made by a range of people, and you will be onto a deep understanding of early education and care.
Make sure to be open to others ideas and perspectives outside of your own and try to collaborate as much as you can with others.
All that time spent researching and listening will support your development into an amazing and inspiring educator.
You can find out more about Shelby and Homegrown Learning Studios via her Instagram Page.
Thank you so much to Shelby for taking the time to share her story and being part of our Educator Member Spotlight series for 2022.
If you would like to be featured in this series you can register your interest HERE.
A Little About Me
Jodie Clarke is an early childhood professional supporting educators who want and need to stay passionate about the work they do! She has 30 years hands-on experience in the early childhood and human services sectors across many different roles.
Jodie is mum to 3 in Australia and has already helped thousands of educators with their work through her popular blog posts, activity ideas, online training and e-books.