HESTA finalist speaks to local media about ECEC career journey
The Sector > Workforce > Leadership > HESTA finalist speaks to local media about ECEC career journey

HESTA finalist speaks to local media about ECEC career journey

by Freya Lucas

September 29, 2022

Gloucester Preschool director, and 2022 HESTA Early Childhood Education & Care Awards Individual Leadership finalist Elizabeth Price recently spoke with local paper The Newcastle Herald about her early childhood education and care (ECEC) career. 


An extract of their conversation appears below, ahead of the HESTA Awards which will be announced in Canberra on Friday 7 October, at a dinner hosted by Clare Bowditch, as part of the Early Childhood Australia conference program


Ms Price was born on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, where she spent her early childhood years before moving to Ireland for her father’s work. The family lived in Ireland for seven years before returning home. 


“I was a quiet child and felt the impact of being perceived differently from my peers due to my travelling experiences and my accent, not quite Irish and not Australian either,” she shared.


After finishing high school Ms Price worked as an untrained assistant in a long day care service in inner Sydney before backpacking solo through Europe.


In 1993 she studied a Diploma of Teaching at the Institute of Early Childhood before taking a teaching position in a long day care service in St Ives. After six months she was promoted to director and teacher of Roseville PreSchool. 


“I discovered that I thrived in motivating other educators to bring their best to the profession and learnt to think outside the box, to use research and knowledge to drive positive change,” she shared. 


She then took a break from teaching to travel the world on a yacht for five years with two young children in tow. 


Ten years ago she became the Director of Gloucester Preschool and Early Years Learning Centre, drawn to the progressive nature of the service for a rural preschool. 


“Their philosophy matched mine, with a large natural outdoor learning environment. The children and their families were their focus, and this reflected their strong connections with the community and the importance of high quality early childhood education,” she explained. 


Ms Price has since initiated a sustainability project book to help minimise the centre’s environmental footprint. 


“The children we educate today face an uncertain future,” Ms Price said. 


“We can give them all the knowledge and skills to meet the demands of our schooling system, work and careers, social and emotional connections to our communities but they might be of little value if our environment can’t support their daily needs, robbing them of the opportunities to experience all the benefits and wonders of the world that we have had the opportunity to experience.”


The sustainability project book’s aim is to explore the impact the service is having on the environment, allowing those in the service, including the children, to research and implement new practices to minimise their environmental footprint, while educating children, staff, families and communities. 


“This is not a tick the box project but a long and continual journey to change practices and embed a new culture of mindful sustainability,” Ms Price said.


“The youth of today have no choice but to fight, make conscious decisions, and try to reconnect us to nature, community and the true values of life. They want to thrive in this world, not fight for survival. As teachers we’re in a unique position where we can inspire and drive positive change and creative thinking that will benefit whole communities, not just a privileged few.”


The preschool has just purchased an additional block of land and is seeking funds to build an educational environment that works in one with nature, is self-sustaining and can be used as a model for future educational environments for young children.


Ms Price is inspired by educational leaders such as Wendy Lee and Claire Warden. To read her story in full, see here. 

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