Norma Hastings secures Queensland Regional Educator Award in FDCA Awards
Norma Hastings from Gin Gin Family Day Care Services has been recognised with the 2021 Regional Educator Award – Queensland in the Excellence in Family Day Care Awards from Family Day Care Australia (FDCA).
The Awards, which celebrate 10 years in 2021, received more than 5,200 nominations, with finalists now progressing to the National Awards.
Ms Hastings, who is 61, has been working with Gin Gin Family Day Care Services since 2018, following 35 years as a registered nurse. After retiring, she still felt that she needed to help children, and decided to explore what she needed to do to work in early childhood education and care (ECEC).
“I could see young working families with both parents working just to pay the bills and a real need for services for young children before they are of age to go to our Mundubbera Kindergarten and Pre-school,” she said.
She contacted Churches of Christ’s Maryborough office and decided to set up family day care in her own home.
“I care for my husband Neville and I think it’s been really beneficial for him and for the kids to be around each other, to show compassion both ways — like that ABC TV show, Old People’s Home For 4 Year Olds,” she explained.
“The children love it when he reads them stories.”
Ms Hastings teaches basic life skills to the children, such as determining left from right, learning how to tie their shoes, write their name, and pack their school bags, something which the local kindergarten teacher has said is “a big improvement” when it comes time to transition to kindergarten.
“On a Tuesday we go on our weekly outing down the street and the children will tell us which way to turn, to help in teaching left from right. We’ll go to the supermarket walking up and down aisles and have a treat on Tuesdays at the local bakery,” she explained.
Churches of Christ Service Manager Early Childhood Services Wide Bay Rebecca Westendorp said the families in Norma’s care agree she thoroughly deserves any and all recognition.
“We are very proud of Norma and the quality care that she provides to the children in her community,” Ms Westendorp said. “We are so happy Norma has been recognised in this way.”
Ms Hastings said she was initially shocked to learn of the award, thinking it must be a scam until she spoke to her Churches of Christ coordinator and finally saw the certificate and knew it was true.
“It’s nice to be appreciated and acknowledged for something that I am so passionate about,” she added.
“It’s what the families want and what the children need; I am so happy to give that to them.”
For more information and to track the progress in the national awards, see here.