From Montessori in Manhattan to professional development in Australia: Beth’s story
Beth Borowsky is a passionate member of the early childhood education and care (ECEC) community, who has experience in a number of subsets of the ECEC sector including teaching preschool, delivering professional development, and operating her own business.
We recently caught up with Beth to learn more about her career journey, the value of professional development and reflective practice, and how the ECEC workforce can cope during a time when many feel burnt out and discouraged.
Montessori, Manhattan and making a difference
Beth’s academic background is in psychology, early childhood education and Montessori preschool teaching.
“After a few years of teaching in a wonderful Montessori preschool in Manhattan, I returned to my home country, South Africa, and was privileged to run a Montessori Maths professional development program to very underprivileged and under-resourced black and coloured primary school teachers,” she explained.
When she arrived in Australia, along with continuing her professional development work in the Montessori space, she studied to become a fully trained adult and child yoga teacher and teacher trainer, teaching classes, privates and holding retreats both in Australia and overseas.
In 2005, her business KarmaKidsYoga was born which later evolved into The Karma Class.
“As the Founder and Head of Wellbeing Education, I get to merge my passion for education, personal development (PD), children, public speaking and all things yoga in a company dedicated to bringing health and wellbeing tools to educators and children through transformational PD workshops and children’s yoga classes,” she explained.
In order to nourish, care for and inspire others, those who lead professional development must nourish and care for themselves, and seek inspiration from many sources.
We asked Beth who inspires her.
“So much of my foundational beliefs and philosophy is grounded in the work of Maria Montessori,” she explained.
“She was such an inspiration and a real game changer in how we respect and educate young children. Couple that with over 1,200 hours of study in the full spectrum of yoga and my daily rituals and practices to stay healthy and strong are an evolution from these sources of inspiration.”
Each day, Beth weaves in a mindful practice such as meditation, walking her dog in nature (no phones!), getting on her yoga mat or listening to an inspiring podcast.
“My favourites podcasters are Jeff Krasno at onecommune.com and Brene Brown’s Unlocking Us,” she shared.
It’s common knowledge that many in the ECEC sector are feeling burnt out and discouraged. We asked Beth for meaningful wellness tips, at a time when things feel so challenging.
“Self care is not selfish,” she responded, “it’s essential. In our Educator Self Care workshop, I implore educators to put themselves first; to keep things simple and achievable. And start slowly. They may be burnt out and discouraged, but are they truly looking after themselves with nourishing food, daily exercise, good quality sleep and relationships that build them up rather than trash them down?”
“These simple things go a LONG way to keeping ourselves feeling nourished and well – both inside and out. Often, we can’t change our environment, but we do have agency over how we choose to live.”
Here are some of Beth’s top suggestions:
- If your diet is unhealthy choose one meal a day, or even one part of the meal, to make super healthy and then build from there.
- Daily exercise – do something you enjoy! Get into nature – without your phone – and just spend time soaking in the beauty.
- Treat yourself to some pampering – a massage, a mani/pedi, time alone reading/journaling or a relaxing bubble bath.
- And the easiest and simplest of all, begin a daily Gratitude practice. When you wake up, and just before you fall asleep, whisper three things you’re grateful for.
“The sector is filled with so many young people and it breaks my heart that many are leaving after only a short amount of time because of the challenges,” she continued.
“We are all agents of our own destiny. We can create the life we want and the life we love. I feel privileged to be a strong and healthy 57-year-old woman who gets to do what I am passionate about. But it hasn’t been easy, especially during COVID-19. There are always challenges in every job.”
“Teaching young children is such a privilege and the sector needs amazing people like you.
Try to cultivate and create ways to feel good – in body, mind and spirit – and surround yourself with people who fill you up, not pull you down. That way, you’ll meet the challenges with strength and courage and be the inspiring educator you always dreamed of being!”
To learn more about Beth’s work with The Karma Class, see here.
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