Every morning at 6 am (or even earlier sometimes), educators across our 10 centres are at work, opening the centre, blowing the leaves out of the playground, setting up obstacle courses, and checking to make sure the studios and playgrounds are safe and ready to use, and starting to prepare children’s meals for the day.
Every evening between 6 and 6.30 pm, our educators are packing away all the resources, making sure the centre has been cleaned, finding owners for all of the misplaced drink bottles, socks, shoes, and jumpers, resetting spaces for the next day, and locking the centres to ensure it is secure until we do it all over again in the morning.
In between these times, they are supporting, comforting, educating, feeding, cuddling, soothing to sleep, reading, singing, running around the playground, digging in the sand pit, cleaning, and caring for our children. This, mind you is only a small aspect of the educator’s day if we also think about meetings to attend (both during and outside of work hours), compulsory training to complete, keeping paperwork up to date, curriculum to develop, document, and reflect on. The list goes on and on until our educators head for home each day. Where a large percentage of our educators go home to care for their own family or are studying to complete a qualification – or both!
But if you ask your children’s educators what their days are like, they might say busy, but they will also tell you it is so much fun, it is rewarding, interesting, and never boring. Because although being an educator is a big role with big responsibilities, it is also the most amazing honour to be involved in these little people’s world and to make discoveries with them each and every day.
So, because of all that our educators do – we like to show our gratitude. We do this every day with a ‘thanks’ at the end of the day, with professional opportunities for our educators to further their studies and careers, and in 100 other ways. But sometimes it is nice to acknowledge the efforts of our amazing educator teams formally and publicly. This is the idea behind Early Childhood Educator’s Day.
Educator’s day is held every year on the first Wednesday of September, and it provides us the opportunity to say thanks, celebrate and just take a few moments to pause in the busyness of the day to appreciate how much our educators do for our centres and for our children. As an educator, I loved Educator’s Day – how the older children would draw pictures for me, or give me extra hugs that day, or pick a flower on their walk to kindy that day, especially for us – plus who doesn’t love a special morning tea or lunch at work! As a parent, I loved Educator’s Day to stop for a second in the rush of drop-off or pick-up and say thank you to the educators who cared for my children and let them know how important they were to my family.
I still have a box of drawings and cards from my kindy children over the years. Those mementos are so precious that even right now I have a picture of a bird in the back of my phone case that a Kindy child drew for me recently as we sat in their kindy playground and had a chat. These gestures stay with us and fill our buckets so that we can get through the tougher days.
So if I can ask one thing, would you mind putting a note in your diary for the first Wednesday of September to stop for a moment and join us in thanking all the educators across Mother Duck and the wider Early Childhood Community for the work that they do. It would mean a lot.