Experienced Director Bev shares lessons from her long career
The Sector > Jobs News > Experienced director Bev shares lessons from her legacy of learning and laughter

Experienced director Bev shares lessons from her legacy of learning and laughter

by Freya Lucas

April 18, 2024

Bev Anderson is an early childhood education and care (ECEC) professional with more than 30 years of experience in the sector. She recently spoke with the media team at Goodstart Early Learning to share stories, insights and lessons from her extensive career. 


Keeping children at the heart of her interactions has been the most significant aspect of her longevity and success, especially in her current role as the Director of Goodstart Deeragun, where her colleagues describe her as compassionate and steadfast. 


Her career began when her own young son started school, and she decided to re-enter the workforce. 


“I started studying for my Diploma at TAFE. Back then, the Diploma incorporated the Cert III in a four-year course that was the whole lot,” she explained.


“I was working full time going to TAFE four nights a week and holding up a young family. I’d work till 5:30pm and go straight from work to TAFE, getting home at 10:30pm at night. It was hectic.” 


She got a job a few weeks into starting her course, as a preschool bus driver, in 1994.


“I’d take the children to and from Prep, because then they used to have split sessions. I’d get back at midday and cover lunches. This was my starting role and I gradually advanced,” she explained. 


The service she was working for was independently owned at the time, before being taken over by several other owners. Eventually the service became an ABC centre, before transferring to Goodstart Early Learning. 


She was at the same centre for 25 years, before moving to another centre in Annandale, serving as a float Director for a short time, before moving to Goodstart Deeragun, where she is known as a leader who fosters respectful, meaningful partnerships with families.


Moments of magic


Understandably, she’s encountered many triumphs and challenges over the years, including supporting children’s diverse needs at a time when inclusion wasn’t formalised in a practice framework. 


Recognising the importance of equity, inclusion and diversity at a time where these facets were not yet clearly defined in Australia’s National Quality Framework and Early Years Learning Framework. 


Two of the most significant moments in her career have come from working closely with children living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). 


“There was one child who didn’t talk when he first came to us,” she explained.  


“Taylor (pseudonym)  just used to sort of rock from side to side. By the time he left us, he was signing to us, joining in with the group of children and giving us eye contact.”


When his family moved to Melbourne, Taylor was enrolled in a specialised program for children with autism, but has since been able to transition to a mainstream school program. 


The second story which is significant in her career involved Sam (pseudonym), a child Ms Anderson worked with in the 1990’s when she was a room leader and Centre Director. 


“Sam was meeting developmental milestones for about 17 months. And then he just stopped, and became nonverbal. He’d just sit by himself. And then he ended up going to his grandparents’ custody,” she explained.


“One day, we were sitting in the classroom, and Sam was sitting up against the wall. We had colour posters on the wall, and he was just pointing to the letters going ‘Y-E-L-L-O-W yellow’ and he was going along.”


“I was just so profoundly speechless. I stood there for a good five minutes listening to him because these were the first words that he’d spoken literally for three years. So, I’m crying, I’m on the phone to Granddad, ‘You need to come down now. Something amazing is happening.’ 


“Granddad came down and he stood at the window of the classroom, watching Sam doing the same thing. And he had tears rolling down his face. I think that’s the most memorable experience I’ve ever had.” 


Career highlights


When asked what has kept her in the early learning sector for so long, Ms Anderson’s answer is simple – the children. 


“Children, basically. When you work in a service for the length of time that I have, it comes full circle. Some children that I had in my kindergarten classroom are coming back with their children.” 


Ms Anderson has a firm foundation as a formative member of the community. Someone who has helped to bring up generations of Townsville children while being an inspiring team leader. 


“I bump into a lot of people around and they still say, ‘Hi Miss Bev, how are you?’ like 30 years old. From attending early learning with me 30 years ago. It makes me feel old, but it’s very special.” 


Leading from the front


Ms Anderson has developed a leadership style which is centred around fostering a strong team culture, being authentic, and having compassion for herself and her team. 


“I show my people that I will do any of the tasks that I expect them to do,” she said. 


“I’ll get in there, do nappy changes, and clean up. I like to think that I support them when they need that time out of their room. I always make time to go down and say, ‘Okay, you take five. I’ll stay here. You’re going to have a coffee or whatever.’”


“It’s a give and take approach to leadership. I expect them to follow my expectations and I try to fulfil the expectations they have of me. It seems to work.” 


Goodstart Deeragun is currently recruiting. Learn more about these roles here. Bev is shown in the centre of the main image, wearing a pink wig. 

Download The Sector's new App!

ECEC news, jobs, events and more anytime, anywhere.

Download App on Apple App Store Button Download App on Google Play Store Button