Interview with Kathy Walker, founding director The Walker Learning Approach & Early Life Foundations
Kathy Walker has made children her life, both as a mother and as a career professional. She really does believe that children are the future and that she has something valuable to offer the younger generation. In discovering a path to better understand what children need to grow, coupled with her passion to improve lives; Kathy has become a leader in her chosen field.
If you think that child care is for you but are questioning how to make the change then you need to ask yourself one simple question. Do you have valuable experience which you can offer? If the answer is yes, you owe it to yourself to explore the possibility that you can work within the child care sector.
Plus, there has been steady growth within the industry over the last few years. The Australian Bureau of Statistics states that from 2004 to 2007, the number of child care businesses increased by 19%. This growth means that there are avenues out there with which to develop your knowledge and your practical skills with the future potential for gainful employment.
Making a career decision is never easy, but with the right tools and knowledge, you too can make a difference to the people around you. Why put off something that could potentially make your happier, improve your life balance and ultimately leave you feeling more fulfilled?
My career journey
I started in psychology and loved that. However wanted to work in education and then studied early childhood. Then went on to study more in education. I taught in early childhood as a preschool teacher, play therapist, manager of children and family services in local government, as an academic and for many years at university.
Over the last 10 years, I have become director of my own company, working to support parents, children and teachers. I am also an author of many books for parents and educators.
Trends in early childhood education
There are so many supposed “trends”. I think the most authentic way to operate is to include families, build relationships around the family and child and to ensure skill, learning and development are critical elements of the early childhood educator’s role.
3 key characteristics that will help early childhood professionals succeed in their careers:
1 Greater body of expert knowledge in development, neuroscience, brain, and child development.
2 Much higher scores should be needed to get into university.
3 Higher degrees should be needed to work in early childhood with better pay to match the increased knowledge and professionalism.
Early Life Foundations supports early childhood professionals
We are a non-political, independent body of knowledge-based professional development. Our aim is in reaching rural and remote areas across Australia, keeping our fees affordable to parents and educators.
Expertise is essential but keeping the messages accessible is too. Online and Skype support texts, videos and conferencing support, as well as a team of mentors who travel the country to support educators in their own settings is part of what we offer.
Advice for students who are looking to enter the child care or early childhood industry
Study hard, be knowledgeable, be assertive and fight hard for the rights of children and families. Be an advocate. Have a voice.
The Early childhood profession needs to lift itself up, to speak out more and to gain a greater sense of professionalism. It also needs to gain a greater body of expertise in knowledge and not accept people who didn't get into any other degrees of jobs.