MILLTHORPE family day care educator Helen Ewin has topped the class for providing quality early childhood education, having been named the regional winner in the 2014 excellence in family day care awards.
Mrs Ewin, as the Dubbo and Central NSW finalist, is now in the running for state and national educator of the year titles to be announced by family day care later this year.
The Millthorpe woman is passionate about the service she provides, and said it was humbling to be nominated by the parents of the children she looks after and Cabonne/Blayney family day care management, the service she is registered with.
“Your families become like your extended family, and you can see the children grow up, and then you’re invited to 18th birthdays and graduations and 21sts,” Mrs Ewin said.
“Family day care has become an important service. I’ve had a lot of families say that if they can’t send their children to family day care, then they’re going to hold off from going back to work.”
Mrs Ewin looks after four children under five years old and three school-aged children from her home in Millthorpe, and said she enjoyed teaching them about their community and watching them grow and learn.
The educator has been in the childcare business for over two decades, and said she had seen many changes to the family day care system over the years.
“There was hardly any paperwork when I started, but now ... the national regulations were introduced in 2011. It gives us more paperwork. A lot of people are complaining that we’re having to stop play because there’s so much paperwork,” Mrs Ewin said.
“What is frightening them [the parents] the most is what’s been in the media recently, how the government is cutting the funding to services. I would still be there, but if there’s no money for the services, child development officers would not visit, but if we wanted them to, then we, the educators, would have to pass that cost onto parents.”
State educator award winners will be announced nest month, and Mrs Ewin said she will travel to the visions for leadership in family day care symposium in Adelaide on October 25 when the national winner will be announced.