Have you ever seen a pile of flyers dumped in your street, or stuffed in…
Growing up, Caitlin Schilg (pictured) was passionate about dance.
A competitive dancer from the age of three, she taught and choreographed dance as a teenager, and it was her dream to pursue a career in the field.
While she was in year 12, she completed a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care as part of her studies, and was also accepted into the London Royal Academy of Dance’s teaching program, which she studied online from Canberra.
After then starting a role at Communities@Work’s Greenway Child Care and Education Centre, staff quickly noticed her leadership potential and offered her the opportunity to complete a Diploma qualification.
“I was halfway through the Diploma when I realised: I’d had a dream change. Because of the Diploma program that Communities@Work provided I realised that I actually had a passion for teaching in general,” says Caitlin.
“So I dropped out of the Royal Academy of Dance and focused everything on teaching.”
Caitlin has worked with Communities@Work for five years, and says she was not only able to work while gaining her qualification, with plenty of support along the way, there’s even been room for further career progression.
After completing her Diploma, Caitlin was promoted to room leader of the preschool room. Then an early childhood teacher position became available, which required someone who held or was working toward a bachelor degree.
“My boss said, ‘I think you should really look at doing your Bachelor of Education, if this is what you’re really passionate about, and we will help you’,” says Caitlin.
“And Communities@Work were fantastic. They helped find which Uni would be right for me, because I wanted to keep working full time. They also provided me with references, experience and even more amazingly, they give you study leave during work hours to help complete your degree.
Now Caitlin is passionate about early childhood education (you might know it as “childcare”, but it’s so much more than that)—she even gets to incorporate her love for the performing arts by including it into her curriculum for the children.
“I love that every day is different. I’ve never worked in a desk job, but I assume it’s sitting there doing a lot of the same things, day in, day out. Whereas we’re on our feet, we’re moving all day. And the children come out with some of the most hilarious comments, and it just keeps the day fun,” she says.
“Even if it’s not your passion and you’re just wanting a job, I also think early childhood education is a great choice because you’re learning skills and you’re going to have fun whilst doing it. And Communities@Work is such a great organisation to work for because they really do care about their employees, and they listen to what they have to say.”
For Rebecca Leader, who has worked at Communities@Work child care and education centres for seven years, she loves how working in early childhood education provides an opportunity to build meaningful relationships with families, children and the community.
“I love being able to be with the children. It really is a heartwarming thing to walk into a room and the children that know you yell out your name or put their hands in the air and run across the room. And seeing them from when they’re small and when they grow bigger and the learning they go through, you can see things starting to make sense for them, and that’s a really cool thing to see,” she says.
“I really enjoy the community-focused feel and family environment at Communities@Work.”
Fellow worker Kelly Adams didn’t set out to work in early childhood education. Instead, her initial move into the sector was more about finding a full-time job. She knew she enjoyed working with children, but it wasn’t until she did some casual work at Communities@Work’s Richardson Child Care and Education Centre that she realised she’d found her passion. The centre has now supported her through studying both her Certificate III and Diploma, so she got to work while gaining her early childhood qualifications.
“I love working in early childhood education. I think it’s a really rewarding job. The families are amazing, they’re so appreciative of everything we do,” she says.
“I think it’s a great career to have and to work in. It’s very rewarding. You’re surrounded by people that can help you, you get to know all the educators and the families. It’s a lot of fun and they’re very supportive, and early childhood is just a great sector to work in.”
What: Interested in a career in early childhood education? Kickstart your career with Communities@Work, with options to work while you get qualified.
Website: For more information visit commsatwork.org/early-learning-careers. Communities@Work is participating in the #bigrolesinlittlelives campaign with the Early Learning and Care Council of Australia (ELACCA).
For more information on this campaign, please visit bigrolesinlittlelives.com