Updated: Mar 11, 2022
✦ Amy is an Early Childhood Teacher, Approved Provider & the Centre Manager at The Village. She is a proud Wauchope local - born and raised in the beautiful Birpai country.
“We would ride motorbikes across our paddocks that adjoined my grandparents' paddocks, we climbed trees and ran around barefoot," Amy told us, fondly reflecting on her childhood. "My all-time fave was floating down the river on old tire tubes with my school friends.”
She came from a family full of women. Her parents had three daughters, her elder sister has two daughters, her younger sister has two daughters and she has just married a man with two daughters. “My dad and brothers in law are a minority!" she jokes. "Being 'Aunty Amy' is the most important role in my life and it is important to me to be a kind, generous and strong role model for our 'little women'. My eldest niece, who I can't quite believe is old enough, has just joined my team as a trainee educator too.”
We asked Amy how long has she been an Early Childhood Teacher? Her response…
“It was written in the stars that I was going to be a teacher in some capacity. My younger sister still complains about the numerous occasions where I forced her to be my student as I conducted classes at the ripe old age of six-years-old.
"In late primary school, my school reports referred to me as 'the pied piper' as I could generally be found with a trail of younger children in my midst. I moved to Newcastle for university in the year 2000, before we had uni options in the Port Macquarie-Hastings, and straight after high school before 'gap years' became a thing.
"At the end of 2004, after completing my primary school and early childhood teaching degree, I felt a pull to return to my hometown and grass roots. For the past 17 years, I have been teaching and managing in a variety of early childhood settings and services in the Wauchope and Port Macquarie area, with amazing opportunities and experiences and many memories made along the way. I haven't quite been around long enough for "my children's" children to come to preschool yet, but my first classes have finished high school and are at university now, and I have some who have become facebook friends now that they are adults.”
AMY TOLD US ABOUT THE VILLAGE PRESCHOOL & LONG DAYCARE CENTRE
"Approximately five years ago, I reached a place in my career where I decided to become more intentional in choosing a workplace that aligned with my values, morals and passions; that prioritised people over profit, genuinely supported the staff, and authentically gave back to the children, families and community that have given so much to me. I became increasingly aware of the difference between 'talking the talk' and 'walking the walk', a point that I think all of us reach when we reach a particular age.
"Richard Branson is an entrepreneur whose ethics have long inspired me - there is so much of his approach to business that resonates with me, so I sought a workplace that combined my passion and purpose, supported the staff to support the clients, and measured success, not by money or fame or power, but by the difference it made in the lives of others. As my dreams evolved, I decided to create it myself. And so, The Village Preschool & LDC was born.
"The centre itself has been operating in Wauchope for over 20 years, but we, as a business, service and team, are brand new. We intensely believe in the concept that it 'takes a village to raise a child', and seek to provide a service that supports not only the children, but their families, each other and our wider community as well. We set out to live and operate as a village in every essence of the word, and have created an extended family that we are proud to be a part of, to show up to, and to share with our town. That it is my hometown that I get to do this within, is the icing on the cake.
"We support families by providing early education and care for children aged six weeks to six years, nurturing their learning and development in the most formative years of one's life. Did you know that you attain more skills and knowledge within the first five years than in the entirety of the rest of your life? It's pretty special to have an impact on those years through our work. We operate 52 weeks per year to support the needs of our working families and subsequently the local community, supporting parents to return to work or study guilt-free, with assurance of the safety, wellbeing and love we provide for their children each day.
"I am proud of our oversized, natural playground and the authentic, magical childhood we get to provide with it - making mud pies, chasing dragonflies, and dancing with the fairies in our fairy garden. We have a hive of native Australian stingless bees, are about to plant our new herb and vegetable gardens, and our children even get to climb our trees! Our children learn by 'doing', not by 'watching', 'listening', and 'being told', and we get to be co-explorers with them every day."
The Village provides a preschool program, with long day care hours of operation. Many parents don't realise that all early childhood education and care services, whether a community-based preschool or a long day care centre, are governed by the same regulations, guided by the same curriculum framework, and delivered by the same qualified teachers and educators.
Many of the centres university qualified early childhood teachers are primary school teacher trained as well; they simply work from a different syllabus tailored to younger children. They nurture identity, independence, wellbeing, communication, learning and development in alignment with national curriculum outcomes, individualised goals and personalised interests. They support children to achieve milestones across each of our classrooms and age groups, with a focus on school and life readiness, especially in the centre’s preschool classroom.
The Village service philosophy informs all of their decisions, interactions, goals and practices, and is encapsulated in the foundations of their vision, whereby "relationships are central, play is essential, potential is infinite". Relationships, play and potential support an inclusive workplace culture, a passion for children's holistic development, positive partnerships with families, meaningful participation in the community, recognition of our indigenous land and people, and sustainable conservation of our natural environment... all of the things Amy set out to offer when entering into business ownership in Wauchope.
Amy’s Greatest Achievement So Far…
Amy told us, “For me, it's all about the people, and how grateful I am to be surrounded by the ones that I am! Our education and care team is made up of a diverse crew; from locals like me, whose family have been here for generations, to others from different countries and islands who are new to our beautiful town.
“We have extremely experienced teachers mentoring our new, enthusiastic trainees, and we consistently aim to 'raise the bar' and enhance quality outcomes through continuous improvement. There is also an element of 'heart' that I believe should encompass your work, and I think that is achieved by the business owner working at ground level oneself... there is an accountability in looking your customers in the eye as they walk in the door, and bumping into them in the supermarket on weekends, so again, I am thankful to be living and breathing my decisions and practices with added integrity every day. At least, that's what I aim to do.
We were also nominated for Excellence in Business Awards after four months of operation, which is a more tangible measure of how we have been received within the community. Unfortunately COVID has postponed the awards ceremony thus far, but we were excited to be nominated and to have been informed that we are finalists for Excellence in New Business!”
The Centre’s business vision for the next 12 months
2021 saw the Centre focused on upgrading their environment and equipping the centre with an abundance of new resources. The centre is very well outfitted now, so in the year ahead, Amy is turning her attention to professional development and further training and mentoring for the team.
“We are growing our leadership team, as I am about to appoint a new Centre Manager to work alongside me in enhancing our service even further, and one of our existing educators has stepped up to lead the team in our toddler classroom," she said. "We are empowering and supporting women, offering flexible working days and hours to support our working mothers, and providing quality education and care to support women (and men) returning to work after becoming parents.”
The Village Preschool and Daycare Centre are looking forward to expanding community connections as they come out of COVID restrictions, raising standards and expectations through ongoing continuous improvement, and facing new and exciting challenges as they set new goals and achievements for themselves. It's going to be another busy year!
The Village Preschool
Tel: (02) 6586 4800
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