In conversation with: Laura Stone, ABC Early Childhood Producer
We connected recently with one of our newer e-news subscribers, Ms Laura Stone, who is an Early Childhood Producer with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), to learn more about her role, what drew her to producing early childhood content, and how a typical day unfolds.
At The Sector we’re always interested in, and humbled by, the breadth of professionals who access our weekly e-news feature. From fellow journalists, allied health professionals, early childhood leaders and managers, owners, investors, recruiters, people who have retired from the profession – our readership is a diverse and dynamic bunch, from all corners of the nation, and overseas.
Interviewee: Laura Stone, Early Childhood Producer
Organisation: Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
Topic: production, career choices, diversification of roles
Freya: Thanks for speaking with us Laura. I understand you’re quite new to your position with the ABC – can we start by asking what have been some of your biggest learning experiences in the first weeks of your new role?
Laura: I’ve been learning about everyone’s roles in the various Children’s Department production teams. There are lots of new projects on the boil at ABC KIDS! I’m getting to know as much as I can about each project, so I can best support and advise from an early childhood education (ECE) perspective. It’s exciting to discover how I’ll be working together with other producers to amplify the success of content in early childhood settings.
Freya: What drew you to work in the production space?
Laura: My love of high-quality, Australian-made children’s film and audio. I’m drawn to the inherent creativity and imagination required in this space and the value I can add from an early childhood practitioner’s point of view.
There is so much scope for ABC Children’s content to be used as provocations for deeper inquiry and project work – maximising children’s meaningful engagement in audio-visual content. This capacity is hugely important for educators working with our young ‘digital natives’. I am committed to drawing out useful curriculum links to help spark new ideas for teachers and help inform and enhance daily practice.
Freya: Can you walk us through a typical day in your role?
Laura: My days are proving to be very diverse; I’m writing a collection of complementary learning experience suggestions for a new series due to air in July. In my first week, I worked on Play School web notes for the new series – that was a very special privilege, five minutes into the job!
I have been advising around follow-up ideas for a wonderful new ABC KIDS Listen podcast series called ‘Little Yarns’ (educators keep a look out for this around NAIDOC Week).
Giving feedback on scripts for internally and externally produced content and working on outline ideas for new preschool shows will be ongoing.
Freya: What background do you have in early childhood, and did your previous experiences support you in being successful in this position?
Laura: I completed my early childhood teacher training at Macquarie University in Sydney, then taught at a long day care and preschool. I then moved into a consultancy and professional development role back at Macquarie Uni with the NSW Kids and Traffic Program. My work at Kids and Traffic included teacher and student training, but also resource production in print and digital formats.
I’ve taught at TAFE and university over the years and have built a firm understanding of the early childhood sector. It was a combination of these skills and experiences over the past 15 years that led to my success in gaining this role.
Freya: What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Laura: Be open to broadening your experiences beyond face-to-face teaching whenever you can – even when it might feel a bit uncomfortable.
Build on your verbal and written communication skills.
Make creative writing a hobby, experiment with short film-making, take your learning stories further by experimenting with multi-media, make time to share with your colleagues and the families at your service.
Most importantly, immerse yourself in high quality children’s media. Consider ongoing study – perhaps in communication/marketing or educational leadership – that would certainly help if you didn’t have a day-to-day role that scaffolded your learning on the job.
Freya: Wonderful, thanks for your time Laura!