My name is Melissa Long and I am the Centre Director of Little Learning School Asquith. I have been working in Early Childhood Education for over 20 years. I started my career as an untrained assistant whilst I studied my Certificate III, then Diploma and a Bachelor in Education (Early Childhood), before becoming an Early Childhood Teacher and then a Centre Director.
One of the most common questions I get asked is why Early Childhood?
For as long as I can remember I always wanted to be a Teacher. Specifically, Early Childhood because every day is different, it allows for flexibility to make the day interesting. I am learning along with the children each and every day, children guide the curriculum rather than it being strict on what they need to learn, children develop so quickly in the first 5 years and this means that I can help to shape the next generation of children and that you never stop learning new and exciting things each and every day.
The Early Childhood Profession has changed greatly over the past 20 years and I believe that this has highlighted the importance of Early Childhood Education for all children. The perception of our profession has changed from us being viewed as “child care” and “babysitters” to becoming education for Early Childhood. I believe that this has been an important step for our profession, being viewed as an essential part of children’s development, the same as the more traditional “School Setting”, however there is still a long way to go.
Early Childhood Education is such an important part of every child’s development. Research shows that in the first three years of a child’s life their brain development produces more than a million neural connections each second. Theses connections will affect the overall development of children right up into adulthood. That is why Early Childhood Education is so important. Early Childhood Education provides children with the best possible start to life and that Educators can educate children in ways to stimulate Children’s Development.
Leadership in Early Childhood is different for every Centre Director as we all come with differing styles, beliefs and expectations. For me I believe leadership is about treating everyone how I would like to be treated. It is also about leading by example, being able to do everything that I ask to be completed, I should also be able to complete. And it is a collaborative approach as I can not lead without a team. My team and I work very closely together to set and achieve goals, working on the writing, implementing and evaluating of the centre’s Quality Improvement Plan together. As well as working together on a strong curriculum for children.
Winning Centre Director of the Year has been a great recognition, however, I could not have achieved this without the support of my team at Little Learning School Asquith and my Area Manager and Directors. Thank you to my team for all your support. Looking forward to another fantastic year ahead.