What Does It Mean To Be Essential?
I’m sitting here in my home office amid lockdown thinking about what it means to be “essential”. It’s a word that I’ve heard consistently over the past week from Qld Health mandates and has been debated across the local community on social media.
What does it mean to be essential?
A quick Google search gives me some answers. According to Oxford University to be essential is:
“completely necessary; extremely important in a particular situation or for a particular activity”
For some reason, I find this amusing, because I feel like I have spent my entire career advocating for early childhood educators, particularly those who work for Mother Duck. I’ve always believed the work we do is essential. Obviously, the Productivity Commission believes we are essential to ensure that people can go to work and have somewhere to take their children. This latest lockdown has also highlighted this aspect of our work, that young children need to be somewhere safe whilst their families attend to essential work to support our community and economy.
This view on the role of Childcare in the community has been long-standing. When I finished University almost 25 years ago and chose to work in Childcare instead of taking a job in Primary school, my friends who graduated alongside me were astonished. I was offered a contract at a local Primary School, but I turned it down because I knew that working with children birth to five years would be more rewarding for me. Childcare was seen as babysitting rather than educating, even by my peers who held the same qualifications as me!
Whilst a lot has happened in the profession in recent years to recognize our work as educators rather than babysitters, I still think it’s important that we still have these discussions to further promote the important work of our early childhood educators, particularly the ones I know and can attest for at Mother Duck.
When you look at the research, it’s easy to see why our early childhood educators are essential
“Studies have shown that babies and young children who grow up in safe, stable and nurturing environments, with lots of positive interaction with parents and caring adults, will go on to be healthier and more successful in school and in life.” – https://azpbs.org/2017/11/early-childhood-brain-development-lifelong-impact/
In times of uncertainty, it’s even more important that young children are provided with consistency. Not only for their short-term happiness but also for their long-term emotional well-being. The COVID-19 pandemic has been happening for some time now. For the youngest infants in our Centres, most were born into this “new world”, whilst for half of our Kindergarten children’s lives, they have been living in a global pandemic.
I’m writing this to say thank you to our educators who show up as their best selves each day they come to work at Mother Duck. The past week has been challenging for all of us. In particular, for our educators with the threat of illness, the uncertainty of job security with their spouses, having the added pressure of choosing whether to send their children to school or juggle homeschooling all whilst wearing a great big smile behind their face masks.
On Wednesday the 1st of September, it is Early Childhood Educators’ Day. As members of the Australian Childcare Alliance, this has become a tradition at Mother Duck Childcare where we provide a beautiful gift for each educator and celebrate during the day.
It’s a chance to say thank you to Australia’s early childhood educators on a very personal level by service operators, families and their children, as well as collectively at the state and national levels.”
For more information follow this link.
This year we were hoping our families could post their gratitude on our Mother Duck Centre FaceBook pages. That way, our educators’ friends and family can read the posts, and we can spread the importance of early childhood educators and become advocates for the important work they do. Please jump on and like your Mother Duck Centre FaceBook page and keep an eye out for the posts in relation to this. If you are not on Facebook, please contact your Nominated Supervisor or Centre Franchisee and let them know how you would like to join this cause.
Thanks in advance for helping with this initiative and helping celebrate Early Childhood Educators’ Day as part of our Mother Duck Community.