28 January 2015
In 2014, our wonderful Family Day Care Educator, LiXue (Amy) Mann was the recipient of the ACT Education and Care Gala Award for Excellence in Practice and Pedagogy for family day care. Amy has been an educator with YWCA Canberra since 2012, and with Belconnen Community Services prior to that since 2008. Here, she shares her experiences as an educator, and the impact she has on the children in her care.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
LiXue Mann is my name. Amy is my English name. I came to Australia from China nine years ago. My major in university was Chinese Traditional Medicine in China and I worked as a manager in the marketing/sales area of a pharmaceutical company in China for many years before I came to Australia. After moving to Australia, I started my own family and now have two beautiful children.
Why did you decide to start a career in Family Day Care? How long have you been an educator for?
I started working as a Family Day Care Educator with Belconnen Community Services seven years ago, when my first child was one year old. It seemed a great choice, as it fits into my family life very well. From then on, I started to be interested in early childhood education.
What do you love about educating, and in-home care?
The best thing about being a Family Day Care Educator is the flexibility of it. I am able to look after my own family and study, as well as working. I have completed a Certificate III and a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care during this seven years. And my two children absolutely enjoy this experience. It is the best thing, to watch my own children and children in my care play together, grow together and become friends with each other.
What does a typical day look like for you?
7.30am to 8.30am – Children arrive in care. Breakfast and free play.
8.30am – We walk to school and drop off the school age children to Florey preschool and primary school.
9.30am-10.30am – Outdoor or indoor active play, then morning tea.
10.30am-12.00pm – Intentional teaching.
12.00pm-1.00pm – Lunch.
1.00pm-2.30pm – Babies/toddlers rest, three to four-year-old children have quiet play, for example drawing, puzzle, reading etc.
2.30-4.00 – School pick up trip and play outdoors.
4.00-4.30 – Afternoon tea.
4.30-5.30 – Tutor school age children with their homework, younger ones free play.
Can you think of a favourite achievement or moment you’ve had as an educator?
There are many very rewarding moments. There are two things I remembered the best. One is a three-year-old girl whose parents have been struggling with her toilet training for over a year on and off, but couldn’t get her to do a wee in the potty. She would hold her wee in as much as she could until she got her way and had a nappy put on and then would do it in the nappy. Her parents followed the advice I gave to them, and she was fully toilet trained in one weeks time. Her parents were very happy about it.
Another one was a backup care, the three-year-old boy cried everyday when he came into care and hardly understood or spoke much English. After one month in my care, the mum reported he had changed totally, happier and more confident, and speaking a lot more English.
How did it feel to receive the award last year?
I was very surprised. I believe there are lots of Family Day Care Educators who are doing exactly the same things I am doing. And I am very honored at the same time.
How do you think the Y has helped you on your journey as an educator?
Thinking back to my personal growth, it was an amazing journey. I grew from someone only just managing to look after one child of my own and wondering how on earth I can look after two or three at the same time, to someone now can have seven kids range from toddler to school age, catering to every child’s needs and interest. The coordinators from YWCA Canberra have always been very supportive and helpful. I definitely couldn’t achieve any of this without them.
What’s a goal you have for 2015?
During the time I am looking after school age children, I felt the limitation that I don’t know much about the Australian school education system, as I grew up and had all of my formal education in China. I would like to keep improving myself more. I am currently doing a university course on education. So I can offer a better family day care service to school age children as well as offer young children a better start in literacy and numeracy, therefore make them better prepared for school.
You can find out more about our Children’s Services programs here.