Rizalyn secures Family Day Care Australia Regional Educator Award
Warnervale resident Rizalyn Wilbow has been announced as the Central Coast’s 2020 Educator of the Year in Family Day Care Australia’s (FDCA) Regional Educator Awards.
Ms Wilbow runs Riza’s Pambata Family Day Care as part of the Coastwide Child and Family Services Family Day Care scheme, and has worked in the early childhood education and care sector for over 20 years.
Local publication Coast Community News shared her success, noting that the nomination for the award had come from one of the many happy families using the service, and that the award was given by FDCA in recognition of “her seamless handling of the pandemic and ‘above and beyond’ approach to childcare”.
Ms Wilbow spoke candidly with the publication about the impact of COVID-19, and the impact that subsequent policy decisions in relation to ECEC funding had on the FDC sector, saying that the pandemic, and subsequent changes “left educators in shock”, and sharing her belief that it was the government’s decision to offer free childcare that “really sent the ECEC sector spiralling”.
“While the offer was great for families it wasn’t fully funded, and as a result, many educators had to carry the financial responsibility to deliver that free childcare,” Ms Wilbow said.
While she was able to adapt and respond at a business level to the financial impact, she recognises that many were not so lucky. There is, however, “a new hope” as a result of the pandemic, she continued, saying that the FDC is now more visible within the broader ECEC sector.
Parents, too, she said, have a newfound respect for the value of smaller and more intimate settings, where illness may be easier to avoid, and, if contracted, easier to trace.
“I can only have a maximum of seven children a day, and prior to the pandemic, my kids were already aware of the importance of personal hygiene, so for us, it was really just about being more diligent with our hand washing before meals and after outside play,” Ms Wilbow told Coast Community News.
Ms Wilbow celebrated the 10th anniversary of her business this year, and she feels that the award is a suitable culmination for her efforts in that time.
“It kind of feels like everything’s come together for me and I am so grateful to my families for believing in me and for this recognition,” she said.
The national finalists for the awards will be announced in December, with the award winner chosen in February 2021.
To read the original coverage of this story, please see here.