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Overcoming challenges for the love of children

A look at the strength and passion of childcare providers from one educator’s perspective
Monday May 16, 2011 — Kristian Partington

Carly Neville has worked with children at South Slope out of School Care for six years, the past four as supervisor. There’s a passion in her voice as she talks about her career as a calling that allows her to be a formative influence on the children she serves.

She’s seen funding cuts, growing waitlists, and she craves more supports for children with unique needs, but she doesn’t dwell on what needs to improve because she sees great strength and power in the dedication of her colleagues in the sector.

“Kids are just awesome,” Carly says, when asked what helps her see past challenges and continue to fight to strengthen the sector. “You learn so much from little kids, and the benefits of seeing them learn and grow and get over hurdles; that’s what keeps you around.”

She’s seen the difference an early childhood educator (ECE) can make in the fragile early experiences of a child in need of support, and how an inclusive environment creates a solid foundation for every child involved.

“Every milestone, especially with children with needs, as they become more successful and learn to do something they couldn’t do, that’s always awesome and that’s so rewarding,” says Carly.

She recalls one little boy with special needs who was having a hard time adapting to the programs, until his love for music — especially Christmas carols — was discovered. All the children encouraged music for this boy, and he grew to be an integral part of the centre, actively involved with everyone.

“Now he’s just such a part of our program,” she says, “and it was so cool to see the children so accepting and trying to help everyone feel included.

“If only all adults could be as open-minded as kids.”

She says in order for the future of the sector to be a strong as possible, governments and the public at large must recognize and respect the important work ECE’s do.

ECE’s are educated, passionate and the work they do forms the foundations of our future society, she says, yet employee turnover can be high, in part because wages are low.

If you have a story to share, please contact 800-294-0051, ext. 24, or e-mail kristian(at)axiomnews.ca.

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