Passion for children’s learning: Melissa Walters’ child care career

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

With a love for children, a child care career was a natural choice for Melissa Walters, Centre Director of Goodstart Early Learning Torquay.

“I am so passionate about watching children grow and learn and being a part of that learning, playing such a special and pivotal role in their little lives”, says Melissa.

Melissa’s career in child care started straight out of high school, completing a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care through workplace training. With her Certificate III completed within 12 months, Melissa began her Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care, again via workplace training which meant studying and working in a child care centre simultaneously. Melissa was running rooms with children aged from 2 to 4-years old, all the while getting qualified and relishing her career.

A move to Geelong saw Melissa begin work at the centre she is at now, Goodstart Early Learning Torquay, where within 6 months she was promoted to Assistant Director and then to her current position as Centre Director.

“Words to describe training with Selmar:  Supported, relatable, amazing trainer!”

It was by chance that Melissa chose to then upskill further, with Selmar visiting her centre to discuss upskilling options. Melissa took on an Advanced Diploma with Selmar via distance, which she found to be extremely flexible and encouraging of you working at your own pace. The trainer support was a particular highlight of training with Selmar, Melissa shares:

“Right from the start, I felt the support from [my trainer] Natasha. She was a constant source of encouragement and motivation. She has such passion and drive, consistently pushing and aiding her students to do their best work. She often asked me to think about what was happening in my centre and thinking of how I could relate this all back to a unit of study, rather than adding extra work on myself”.

So, what does the role of Centre Director involve on a day to day basis? Melissa explained that no two days are ever the same, with her position requiring her to stay in the know across all goings on within the centre.

“I get to greet majority of my children and their families every morning, sometimes assisting at this busy time in the rooms. I have staff to guide and direct, emails to check and return, reports to write, phone calls to answer and make, centre tours to run and orientations to settle.

“I often spend time each week on social media marketing the centre and building our occupancy. Then I can be back on the floor again in the afternoon, and have the pleasure of saying goodbye to almost all of my children and their families”.

No matter how busy she gets, Melissa continues to find so much to love about her work.

“There is nothing more beautiful or special than seeing children learn, develop and grow. The connections you make with your families and children are priceless. The love you receive from a child you are fortunate to form a bond with is something truly special and beautiful and is a privilege to receive”, says Melissa.

Melissa believes that a child care career is incredibly rewarding, but that you need to have the passion:

“Be sure that it is the career you want. You cannot be in the industry if you don’t have a love for the little people and the amazing moments you will be a part of.”

While she has reached the role of Centre Director and is currently enjoying building her knowledge and skillset in the role, Melissa hasn’t ruled out taking her child care career to another level.

“Who knows, one day I might love to be a part of our Centre Support Team or Good Future teams, looking at new initiatives and ways of doing things for Centre Directors, their teams and their families and children.”

It’s certainly heartening to know that people like Melissa are helping to shape the future generations.

Thinking of a career in child care? These are Melissa’s top three tips for becoming a great child care educator:

  1. Love and compassion for the children and the special moments you are privileged to witness and be a part of every single day.
  2. Listen to your families and be their support for their concerns, celebrations or worries.
  3. Time management — there are so many things to do in one day that it is an absolute necessity to be able to manage your time!

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