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Rory O’Connor  

Centre Manager - Community Kids Cessnock

“Early childhood education is vital, as a team we teach independence, social skills verbal skills, self-help.” 

I started my career in Early Childhood Education and Care in 2014 and began working at Community Kids Cessnock in 2017. I hold a Diploma in Children’s Services and am currently studying towards my Bachelor of Early Education. I began working causally in the early childhood sector as soon as I was able. One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is how I am often challenged in my skills, and way of thinking; children are amazing teachers and they have truly taught me so much.  

I have always been interested in education, and I am a naturally creative person, with particular interest in nature, design and building. Being in such a hand on and interactive service it allows me to incorporate my interests and educate children in areas that I am passionate about. What I have learnt in child care is that children are truly amazing, I initially didn’t expect how much I would love this job and how much I could love children that weren’t my own. This learning and reflection have guided my teaching in many ways, I have discovered that by being my authentic self I can positively impact each child’s life.  

The best way to explain to families the importance of early education, is to show them, to let them peak behind the curtain and see the amazing things we do, whether this be in person, via photos, video, newsletter, email etc. children and humans of all ages are drawn to one another, we seek comfort and strength in others and have a rich environment full of curious and eager children helps to envelope education in its purest form.  

Our team at Community Kids Cessnock is a diverse and wonderful thing; we have educators of all ages and varying heritages. By having such a large team, it allows for us all to mentor, learn and engage with one another. We all have something new and fresh to offer one another and the children and it is truly a blessing.  

Health and safety are extraordinarily important to our team, especially in the current climate we are living with. Using teachable moments, we can express and educate children on safe practices to keep one another and ourselves safe and healthy. Like all things within our world, by involving children in conversation and practice we can uphold and create an environment that is respectful and considerate of all things human.  

I believe that initial tour is a great way to develop a relationship, it allows us to put our best foot forward and provide them a time that is one-to-one and just about them, in ongoing communications I will send emails, Xplor posts and newsletters to keep all families informed and up to date, as well as touching base and chatting with families on drop off and pick up.  

We have a community pantry with essential items and foods regularly stocked, we also have a “public library’ in the hall where families can take a book home, or donate one, and we also pack any untouched leftover meals for families to take home. We often find that children will have a better appetite here then they will for their families, and by providing meals it can alleviate stress, time restraints when cooking and encourage children to diversify their diet.  

To assist with any family anxieties or confusion, I will often encourage a tour, this helps to create a relationship where they have a face to a name and can experience the centre for themselves, I often find that the families who tour leave smiling and with a sense of comfort. By explaining our day to day and the routines of care, as well as offering them opportunities to raise question or explore in silence it helps families to seek answers to the questions they have, and to gauge the feeling of the centre. 

Early childhood education is vital, as a team we teach independence, social skills verbal skills, self-help, we support each child’s agency, emotion and physical development. Albert Einstein once said “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”  

Call to enquire 1800 411 604