WHILE the job might have its challenges, for one of the region’s best family day care workers, it is still the most rewarding job in the world.
Michelle Thew has cared for children in her home for the past five years, looking after the health, happiness and education of about 100 children.
So she was thrilled when both she and Karen Fuller were named the region’s best family day care educators at the 2013 Excellence in Family Day Care Awards.
Mrs Thew loves her job.
“It’s a great honour to be trusted to look after the things that are most precious to people,” she said.
She also loves the working conditions.
“Working from home means you don’t have to battle with traffic, park the car and defrost the car when it’s snowing,” she said.
She admits the most difficult part of the job is the paperwork.
“We have to document everything because there’s no one looking over our shoulders making sure we’re doing the right thing, but at the end of the day it’s all worth it,” she said.
Even when the children grow up Mrs Thew remains in touch with their families, often via Facebook.
“I’ve been to so many birthday parties, christenings and weddings ... their families become my extended family,” she said.
Mrs Fuller values her job and the role she plays in children’s lives.
“It’s really, really rewarding,” she said.
“It’s great watching the children grow in a home environment rather than being in a room with 20 or 30 other children.”
Mrs Fuller, who has been in family day care for 19 years, said her relationship with the children did not end when they went to school.
“A lot of my children stay on and want school holiday care, and not a lot of people offer it,” she said.
She was surprised to be recognised by this award.
“I was overwhelmed, totally shocked,” she said.
More than 2000 nominations for the awards were received from throughout Australia, with nominees judged on their commitment to providing quality early childhood education and the care they gave in a home-based setting.
Family Day Care Australia chief executive officer Carla Northam said she was overwhelmed by the heartfelt stories about the services provided by family day care educators.
“There is no greater responsibility than to be entrusted with the care and education of a young child, and every nomination reflected the importance parents place on the safe, nurturing and educational environment of family day care,” Mrs Northam says.
The excellence in family day care national award winner will be announced on November 2.