Daniel Nicholson is unique in the field of ECEC, achieving impressive results in the NT
The Sector > Quality > In The Field > Daniel Nicholson is unique in the field of ECEC, achieving impressive results in the NT

Daniel Nicholson is unique in the field of ECEC, achieving impressive results in the NT

by Freya Lucas

November 11, 2022

Early childhood teacher (ECT) Daniel Nicholson is one of two male educators who gained recognition in the 2022 NT Education and Care Awards, being named the Northern Territory’s Outstanding Educator for his innovation and efforts in exploring how he can make early childhood learning even better.


ECTs, and male educators more generally, make up less than two per cent of the early childhood education and care (ECEC) workforce. When speaking recently with education focused publication The Educator Online about his win, his philosophies, and the field of ECEC more broadly, he touched on the perception of men in the sector. 


“Lots of factors contribute to the very low percentage of male professionals in Early Learning settings,” he began. 


“I think one of those factors is that society still has a view that the caring and education roles are better suited to women. Unfortunately, there are still societal and institutional attitudes that make it very hard to choose this profession as a male.”


Mr Nicholson works at Haileybury Rendall School in Darwin, and shared that he often encounters perceptions from others that early childhood is merely a stepping stone in a teaching career. 


Despite this thinking, he believes that without creativity and innovation in the early years, children can’t do well at school, which is why he focuses so strongly on these two areas in his own work with children. 


Approaches such as teaching children of all abilities to communicate using AUSLAN exemplify this perspective. He believes that learning the additional language can support children to “tap into another part of their brain and build empathy.”


Basing his teaching practice on a strong foundation of trust and respect, communication and relationship building are core tenets of what makes him a successful teacher. He spoke candidly about the challenges being faced in the sector when it comes to recognition and appreciation within the workplace, saying “I feel very privileged to be at Haileybury Rendall Early Learning Centre where I feel valued for my time, qualifications and experience. I do know that this is not the case throughout the industry (sic.) though and (that) some early learning centres are struggling to keep educators and maintain quality.”


To read Mr Nicholson’s conversation in full, see here. For more information about the awards, see here

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