Three generations learning and growing at Koala Childcare and Early Learning
Melissa Hansford, an educator at Warrnambool’s Koala Childcare and Early Learning Centre, is in the enviable position of having her daughter, Rubie Ross, and her mother, Carol Hansford, to keep her company when she comes to work each day.
Ms Hansford, who has been working at the service for about four years, enjoys bringing little Rubie to work with her where a cuddle is never too far away – but she’s also able to work and grow in her chosen career. Melissa saw career opportunities at the service and encouraged her mother to fulfil a lifelong goal of working in early childhood education and care (ECEC) bringing with her similar skills, values and a caring heart having worked in disability services and aged care for many years.
Ms Hansford senior “jumped at the chance” and the rest is history! She commenced in the role at the beginning of the month and while the best part of her job is working with young children; the highlight of her day is being able to see young Rubie before she begins her shift.
Rubie is in a separate building but will visit “nan” before she goes into her room each day and waves across the carpark when she gets a chance.
Ms Hansford senior, 51, is studying a qualification in ECEC, and is said to be excited about her new career path and continuing a lifetime legacy of caring for others.
Director Gill Marsden said the service, owned by Story House Early Learning, was delighted to have the mother/daughter duo on board, and that Ms Hansford senior was fitting in very well with the rest of the team.
“She’s a nurturer,” she told the paper. “It’s great to have a balance of younger and mature staff.”
Koala Childcare and Early Learning expanded three years ago and is now licenced to educate and care for 162 children each day, aged from six weeks to school age across the 11 rooms of the service.
With the expansion of Universal Access to include three year olds throughout much of Victoria next year, Ms Marsden is keen to expand the team, and encouraged those who are interested in pursuing a career in ECEC to take the leap and support the need for more educators in the sector.
To read the original (pay-walled) coverage of this story, as produced by The Standard, please see here.