Meet Aoife our centre coordinator from Woollahra Cottage
I began studying Early Childhood Education in Dublin Institute of Technology (D.I.T.), Ireland September 2010 and completed my 3-year Bachelor Honours Degree in May 2013.
My mum is a teacher so naturally, I have always looked up to her and I have wanted to be a teacher from as early as I can remember. In Ireland we have nearly three months of summer holidays so my mum used to take us to the West of Ireland for the whole summer where my granny had her own family-run hotel. I was put to work from a very young age in the kitchen as a waitress, assisting with house-keeping, in reception and even babysitting for guests when I got a bit older – seeing how hard my granny and mum worked from such a young age definitely prepared me for the working world. When I was old enough I started to coach GAA (Gaelic / Hurling and Camogie) summer camps, refereed games and volunteered to help train younger teams in our GAA club.
Throughout college I gained a variety of valuable experience. I worked with children from disadvantaged areas, living in poverty and dealing with issues such as drug abuse and domestic violence while using the Tus Maith and The Highscope Approach. I also had experience organising and running a Parent-Toddler group with a team of volunteers and staff for a few hours every week.
From 2010-2013 I also worked as a casual educator in a privately owned crèche in Dublin which catered for children aged 4 months to 12 years (Nursery, Toddler, Montessori and After-school care). When I completed my degree, I took a full-time position there as the Preschool and After-school care Educator for one year which helped me develop my knowledge or Siolta and Aistear – Ireland’s curriculum framework. I then spent my three months of summer holidays travelling America before returning to Dublin to work as a Preschool educator in a privately owned early years care and education setting (catering for children aged 4 months to 5 years) for 16 months before setting off on my next adventure.
I arrived in Sydney in early February 2016 and I began working in AKG’s Edgecliff Centre; Thumbelina as the Preschool Room Leader. My first day was spent working as the chef, as the service’s chef was unwell that day! I spent 13 fantastic months here and learned so much about the Early Years Learning Framework – EYLF and we also won Outstanding Service of the Year at the Christmas party!
In 2017, I transferred to AKG’s Woollahra Cottage and worked as the Junior Preschool Room Leader. By July I had taken on the role of Room Leader in the Senior Preschool Room and took on the role of Educational Leader. Then in December 2017 I was promoted to 2IC and I also won the AKG Emerging Leader Award at the 2017 AKG Christmas Party. I gained a lot of knowledge in my new role in and was promoted to Woollahra Cottage Coordinator in August 2018 and I am absolutely loving it!
AKG is like a home-away-from-home for me. I am constantly provided with opportunities to learn and progress in my career and there is an endless amount of support from everyone in head office and in all AKG centres which creates such a secure sense of community. I put a lot of focus on learning and progressing in my personal life and AKG share this value – always looking for feedback and wanting to improve to provide the best possible experience for families and their workforce.
For me; helping to create a positive working environment for educators and staff in Woollahra Cottage is my main priority as coordinator right now. I believe, and I think everyone would agree, that happy staff leads natural interest and motivation, leading to the best quality care and education programs being delivered and therefore creating happiness all around – happy children and happy families!
As this is the first stop for most families in the morning time and last stop before they go home after a long day at work; I want to ensure that I am leading a very positive team and creating a positive atmosphere in Woollahra Cottage to help families begin and end their day as positively as possible – and I’d love them to infect their workplaces and homes with the positivity bug too!