Maree Rabach celebrates 40+ years in ECEC
The Sector > Jobs News > Maree Rabach started working in ECEC in 1979 – “it’s an incredibly rewarding job”

Maree Rabach started working in ECEC in 1979 – “it’s an incredibly rewarding job”

by Freya Lucas

September 13, 2023

North Melbourne Children’s Centre coordinator Maree Rabach first started working in early childhood education and care (ECEC) in 1979 and says it’s an incredibly rewarding career path. 


After 44 years working as an early childhood educator, she has a lifetime of experience supporting children through the most challenging yet exciting phase in their lives.  


“We really get to know the families and children. If you’re not a talker or don’t have a genuine interest in people, this isn’t the job for you,” Ms Rabach shared.


Starting with jobs in babysitting and nannying for families, she has always loved working with young children, and got her start in the sector in 1979 at Lady Huntingfield Children’s Centre, where she was an educator. 


“I then applied to be a coordinator and the rest is history,” Ms Rabach said.  


For many children, an ECEC service is the very first place other than home where they learn to interact with the world around them, and with so much of a child’s cognitive development being influenced by their environment, having the opportunity to be ‘up close and personal’ with children and families is a privilege. 


A child-first approach 


At the heart of early childhood education is empowering children, Ms Rabach said, and as such, taking a child-first approach is essential. Central to working in ECEC, she continued, is advocating for children and making a real contribution to their lives. 


“You have to understand the importance of the environment you’re providing for these children – early educators set the foundation for children that allows them to reach their fullest potential,” she said. 


“At the end of the day, we want to make sure the children that come to us are safe, healthy and happy.”


Hub of the community 


No two days are the same at North Melbourne Children’s Centre, a vibrant place at the heart of North Melbourne’s tight-knit local community.  


The service is home to a diverse cohort of young children and families. According to Maree, more than half of the 80 children that attend speak a language other than English at home. Building values of respect and equity among young children is critical in an increasingly multicultural community. 


The centre has become a social hub for parents and children alike, with families often building friendships that last a lifetime. It’s also a critical educational resource for young families and new parents, hosting events ranging from information sessions to parents’ nights. 


“You end up building a real connection with the children and their families. Families can be with us over a long span of time – we get a lot of siblings coming in one after the other,” Ms Rabach explained. 


Many children who attend the service are the second generation to do so, something which is seen as “a testament to the importance of early educators to both children and the wider community”.


“A standout moment for me was when a dad came in to enroll his child and it turned out I had taught him 30 years ago! We both remembered each other, it was lovely.”


“It is immensely rewarding to see the impact our early educators have made on the lives of children. Older children or even adults who attended when they were younger often come back and ask to have a look around, reminisce and say hi to our staff,” Ms Rabach added. 


In closing, she offered a few words of advice for those thinking of pursuing a career in early childhood education.  


“You have the opportunity to play a crucial role in enhancing every child’s wellbeing. You’ll form deep relationships and will always be surrounded by lovely people. It is an incredibly rewarding job.” 


Access the original coverage of this story here. To learn more about the children’s services offered by the City of Melbourne, please see here

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