MercyCare Wembley Early Learning Centre educators celebrate over a decade of caring
While much of the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector battles with workforce shortages, the team at Wembley Early Learning Centre, operated by MercyCare in Western Australia, are celebrating the continuity of their relationships with children and families, as nine of the educators celebrate more than 13 years of employment in 2020.
Some have even been at the centre for two or three decades or more, including the longest serving staff member, Anna Germano, who this year is celebrating her 35th year at the centre.
Anna began working at Wembley in 1985 when the service was known as the Catherine McAuley Child Day Care Centre, joining the team not long after she finished high school.
Although the structures, procedures and policies within early childhood education and care (ECEC) may have changed throughout the past four decades, Ms Germano said that what was at the heart of her role would always be the same.
“The children come first and if they are happy then it all flows.”
One of the advantages of working and living in the same community is that she has had the opportunity to see many of the children she has cared for grow up around her, often running into families at nearby shops and cafes.
Ms Germano has even cared for two generations of the same family more than once.
When asked about her secrets for longevity within the sector, Ms Germano said moving between the different age groups at the centre and taking part in professional development opportunities has kept her work interesting.
Rosina Smith, MercyCare Early Learning Services Manager, said having long-term staff like Ms Germano at the centre helped build a positive environment for families, and brings “huge comfort” to the children.
“Continuity of care allows children to form secure attachments and provides them the ability to form connections and build relationships” Ms Smith said.
“Such relationships help children to be confident and competent learners, children will attempt new challenges and are more resilient when things go wrong” she added.
In 2020, the following educators will celebrate over 10 years of service with Wembley: Prema Xaveridas – 15 years, Renae Malcolm – 14 years, Alex Kurz – 13 years, Anna Germano – 35 years, Katrina Lightbody – 17 years, Felicity Santoro – 27 years, Mandica Kampic – 23 years and Kim Wilhelm – 15 years. (Not pictured – Assunta McKenzie – 21 years).