Ever wondered what it’s like to work in Early Childcare? Bear Park’s People and Culture Manager Nicky shares her insights of the industry below.
What inspired you to work in Early Childhood Education, and what do you enjoy most about your job?
ECE was not an industry or sector I knew much about until I had my own children, then overnight it became one of the most important things in my life! Being involved in ensuring children are surrounded by love and amazing learning experiences is such a privilege. I really enjoy working alongside teachers and ensuring they are getting the most from their roles as this has a direct impact on the children in our care.
What do you think are the most important skills or qualities needed for a successful career in early childhood education, and how do you encourage and develop these traits at Bear Park?
It sounds cliché, but passion for children really is the most important quality to be successful in this profession. So many skills can be taught, but having a real love of children is the key to success. We look for this in all our employees, and then invest in additional training to continually upskill them and allow their pedagogical skills to complement their natural abilities.
What are some of the biggest challenges facing early childhood education in New Zealand today, and how does Bear Park address these challenges?
The ongoing teacher shortage in New Zealand continues to be a huge challenge for this sector. We are incredibly proud of all that Bear Park can offer teachers including offering students permanent work where possible, and supporting them whilst they study.
How do you ensure that staff are up-to-date with the latest best practices in early childhood education, and what kind of professional development opportunities do you provide?
Our vastly experienced Pedagogical team offer incredible Professional Development (PD) opportunities to our teams, which is often complimented by PD delivered by external providers. We follow the Reggio Emilia philosophy in all our centres and send some of our qualified teachers to international conferences, such as the Study Tours in Reggio Emilia, Italy to further their knowledge of this.
How do you foster a culture of inclusivity and diversity at Bear Park?
We believe acceptance and understanding begins at a very early age. We are proud to employ teachers, cooks and relievers from a range of backgrounds and encourage open discussion about differences amongst our tamariki.
What would you say to someone interested in entering the ECE sector?
Teaching is an incredibly rewarding role, especially in ECE as you spend your time nurturing and engaging with children whose minds are expanding every single day! Being involved in their play, their story telling, their investigative learning, their inspirations and overall development are all things we do every day, and our teachers are so loved by our tamariki. I think if someone has a real love of children and a genuine interest in ECE they should absolutely look at ways to get into the field through volunteering, relieving, studying – there are so many options out there.
How do you see the field of early childhood education evolving in the coming years, and what kind of innovations or changes do you anticipate in the industry?
ECE is very compliance driven and regulated and I suspect these requirements may increase over the next few years. I am hopeful that many of these requirements will be moved online or streamlined as currently each centre has to follow a lengthy process to employee teachers. It is great to see an increase in the number of overseas teachers coming into the country, and I would really like to see this process be able to be completed faster as these teachers add so much value to our teams.