Senior educators are vital at Goodstart, and it’s a proud position for Peter
“When else can you contribute to society like this?”
Senior Educator Peter Sariana wears many hats in his role at Goodstart Adelaide Street, Brisbane – Senior Educator, Safety Champion and Male Mentor.
Perhaps his most important role, however, is knowing he is making a difference.
Far from his birthplace of Bali, Indonesia, Mr Sariana plays an important role developing and delivering quality educational programs for children and guiding fellow educators to implement them.
In the Goodstart employment structure, Senior Educators are Diploma qualified “team players” who have the interpersonal skills to work closely with the service leadership team to observe, inform and improve the experience of children in centre.
For Mr Sariana, the job is also a lot of fun…he loves to don his inflatable chicken costume at least once a day and have the children chase him around.
Making people smile and connecting warmly with children is something which comes naturally to him, and which builds on his previous career in hospitality.
“I worked in five-star hotels for 16 years,” he shared.
“The last time I resigned from a job was in 2009 when I worked as a restaurant manager in Brisbane. There had been a lot of change in the industry at the time; many restaurants closed down, the costs were high, and it all became too much. I had to be on the floor all the time and was stretched thin. So, I decided, this is not me anymore.”
He experimented with working as a taxi driver, and as a volunteer with Vision Australia.
In the course of his volunteering, he met a librarian helping with braille. Her husband’s friend was working in the early childhood sector, and Mr Sariana found himself intrigued.
“I thought ‘huh, wow, childcare is a viable profession for a male,” he explained.
“At the time, Uber was making taxi driving hard and studying for a Diploma in Early Childhood was free from the government.”
“I had a flashback. When my son was in prep, about seven-years-old, a lot of his friends were from single parent families. One day we went to park with his friend who said to me, ‘can you be my dad for today’? I just thought, wow, this is not fair. It really broke my heart. This person is still a good friend to my son, who is now 18.”
“You see, I grew up in a big family with six siblings, and I’m the youngest. I was lucky. Everyone pampered me. My parents were always there. So, through this memory, I realised I wanted to work in early learning; that through this work, I can be truly present for children who are normally in centre for 10 hours a day.”
“When I’m here, I show them around, have fun, make them smile. Bringing joy to them gives me joy too. The job is not so much about money. When else can you contribute to society like this?”
“By doing this kind of work, you have a meaningful life to make young people happy,” he continued.
“If I’m going to be the joke that makes them laugh, well, that’s amazing and it’s beautiful.”
Each day, he continued, is a new opportunity to put in 100 per cent for the children.
Mr Sariana will have been working for Goodstart for two years in December, and has been in the sector for nearly five years.
For others who wish to follow in his footsteps he offers the following advice: “You need to possess great listening skills, be trustworthy, not take sides or judge people.”
As a Senior Educator, his role is essentially ‘human services’ he continued.
“You have to be on alert all the time to minimise accidents and conflict. The role helps everyone work together as a team.”
“Being a senior educator is awesome – you walk the talk: supporting in the rooms as you lead – but it’s limited responsibility. We have a director, an assistant director and educational leader who take on that high level job.”
To learn more about working with Goodstart Early Learning, visit the careers website, here.
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