Jade Penhall used tumultuous childhood as inspiration for working in ECEC
The Sector > Quality > Professional development > Jade Penhall used tumultuous childhood as inspiration for working in ECEC

Jade Penhall used tumultuous childhood as inspiration for working in ECEC

by Freya Lucas

February 24, 2021

TAFE NSW graduate Jade Penhall has been on a journey of change and discovery, moving from being a “self proclaimed rebel” to a dedicated early childhood education and care (ECEC) professional who in 2020 won the TAFE NSW Higher Education Award for Outstanding Student.


Growing up in the out of home care (foster care) system, and having “no parental presence” gave Ms Penhall “a fierce determination to excel in several ways”, which have included becoming a parent herself, completing an art and design degree, establishing then selling a printing business, moving to Australia from the UK and most recently, commencing a career as an early childhood teacher in the New South Wales coastal town of Wallsend.


After graduating with a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education and Care (Birth-5) from TAFE NSW Glendale, Ms Penhall now works at Merindah Children’s Centre.


“I love children and because I had a colourful childhood, I’ve always seen children in an idealistic way,” she candidly shared. 


“I really want to make sure they have the best support and are always happy, content and safe.” 


When asked what drew her to the sector, Ms Penhall said the open and honest nature of children, and their genuine love of learning is refreshing. 


“Your time is genuinely valued,” she said, “The more time you put in the more appreciation you get.”


Her main advice for those considering starting a career in ECEC is “believe in yourself, make your own goals, and achieve them at your pace – be true to yourself and you will succeed.”


This advice, she continued, is especially important for those who may not follow the traditional path of higher education, going to tertiary study immediately after high school. 


“I’m not straight out of school, I’m a parent, and I went to TAFE NSW thinking I wasn’t clever enough and couldn’t do it. Instead, the teachers restored my confidence. They’re really great, they genuinely care.”


TAFE NSW offers over 1200 courses, from certificates to degrees. For more information visit www.tafensw.com.au or call 131 601.

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