Meet Aoife our 2IC 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. Many of my favourite childhood memories were made here; playing outside with my cousins all day every day; playing sports on the local field, building forts and swimming, bodyboarding and surfing on Lahinch beach. I was put to work in the hotel 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.
My dad made sure I had a hurl and football in my hand from the day I was born; and those two items never left my hands right into adulthood; my love for the GAA growing every day. Sharing my love for these sports was something I was very passionate about so when I was old enough, I started to coach GAA (Gaelic / Hurling and Camogie) summer camps, refereed games and volunteered to train younger teams in our GAA club; while also playing for my school, club and County Dublin which led to a lot of successes.
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. We followed The Highscope Approach in conjunction with Tus Mhaith. I also had experience organising and running a Parent-Toddler group with a team of volunteers and staff every week.
Throughout my time in college 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 where I followed 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 Butterflies 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 Cocoon Preschool Room Leader. By July I had taken on the role of Room Leader in the Butterflies 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. The experience and knowledge I gained from my year as coordinator was incredible and there were so many aspects of the job which I loved.
In August 2019; after a year as coordinator I decided to step back from the coordinator role as I missed being in a room with the children daily. I returned to my 2IC and Educational Leader positions in Woollahra Cottage and stepped into the Room Leader position in our 1-2 room which I have been absolutely loving.
What I love most about working in Woollahra Cottage with AKG is the fact that I have got to build such wonderful relationships with people from across the globe – children, families and educators. I feel very lucky to have met people along the way that will definitely be friends for life!
For me; creating a positive environment for everyone in Woollahra Cottage is my main priority – safe and happy children, families and educators.
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 try ensure that I am helping to lead a happy team; creating a nice atmosphere in our care and education centre to help families begin and end their day as positively as possible.