Akram’s inspiring journey to early childhood leadership
The Sector > Workforce > Leadership > Akram’s inspiring journey to early childhood leadership

Akram’s inspiring journey to early childhood leadership

by Freya Lucas

February 05, 2024

Early childhood education and care (ECEC) service director Akram Eshaghi, who leads the team at Uniting Airlie Preschool in Oatlands, New South Wales is creating a space for both children and staff to learn, innovate and flourish.


While her initial life path of being a photographer and designer in Iran is far from her present position, her move to Australia, and the decision to start a family served as a catalyst for a career that she now loves.


“I first started thinking about studying early childhood education because we wanted to have a child and I panicked! I didn’t know much about the Australian education system,” she reflected. 


That apprehension developed into passion when she began her career as an educator in a long day care centre in Greater Sydney, and is the same passion that motivates her in her work today.


Having held her leadership position at Uniting Airlie Preschool in Oatlands, for over five years Ms Eshaghi is passionate about empowering children and educators to become lifelong learners.


“I love empowering educators,” she said. “I can share my knowledge, I can guide them, and I can also learn from them.”


At Uniting Airlie Preschool, staff and parents are encouraged to think “just as far outside the box” as the children are.


“I work to empower my educators and teachers, bringing their strengths, interests and knowledge into the preschool to benefit the children and the community,” Ms Eshaghi explained.


By creating a service culture that praises ideas and innovation from every corner, she hopes to encourage lifelong learning for both children and educators.


Connecting cultures through learning


As well as supporting her team Ms Eshaghi uses her experience as a migrant to connect with educators and families who are new to Australia, striving to make the preschool a safe space for everyone to build their language skills.


“Having that support from someone who understands them is really important, for children and for adults,” she said. “English is not my first language. You can do it if I can.”


Since beginning her career in ECEC Ms Eshaghi has completed her Master’s degree and is now undertaking a Master’s of Research in Educational Leadership.


“My studies have helped me think beyond a traditional top-down method of leadership. We embrace more of a flat structure,” she said.


Her advice for anyone looking to progress in an ECEC career is “be open to all learning opportunities that will grow your skills and knowledge. Study pathways, mentoring programs or opportunities to learn from others form a strong foundation to build your career.”


Access the original coverage of this story here. 

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