The funny one liners and the creative stories children share are the best bits of Tania Calder’s busy day. She feels lucky to share these moments with children every day.
Four years ago, Tania started Family Day Care at home and is registered under Five Star Family Day Care, a not-for-profit community organisation.
“For me, it is the perfect way to combine my passion for Early Childhood Education with the commitments of my own personal family life,” said Tania.
Tania studied Early Childhood Education at the University of Western Sydney and has worked in the early childhood field for 25 years. Originally from Sydney, Tania has called the Manning Valley home for 15 years, from Diamond Beach to Dyers Crossing, and she is now settled in Taree.
Tania provides “five star” care and education for babies and preschoolers, as well as vacation care in the holidays.
Many parents choose family day care because of the nurturing, natural home-based setting. Other benefits for children include the small groups, personalised care and the opportunity to form genuine, long lasting bonds with their educator.
“A typical day involves planning and implementing a play-based early childhood program, which caters to the individual child and is underpinned by the Early Years Learning Framework,” said Tania.
A big part of the role includes written reports about each child and communicating with families about their child’s day.
“You need passion and a commitment to providing high quality education and care for young children,” said Tania.
Tania loves greeting families each morning, building connections with each of them and seeing the smiling faces on the children as they arrive.
She is actively involved with the children in their play and takes time to guide them and extend their ideas and learning throughout the day.
With so much going on in a busy Family Day Care, it’s important to manage time efficiently. “I do feel it’s important to establish effective time management strategies and take the time to critically reflect.”
Quality early learning plays a vital role in children’s development. Studies show children who attend a high quality early childhood program in the year before school are up to 40 percent ahead of their peers by the time they reach Year 3 in primary school.
That’s why Tania keeps up to date with current Early Childhood trends through personal development training opportunities. This involves networking with likeminded people and professionals within the community, as well as the family day care coordination unit.
“When I’m not at work, my own family keeps me busy; with three of my four children still living at home, there’s always something happening. More often than not, we have extras dropping in over the weekend!”
Out of hours Tania gets involved in the activities her kids are interested in.
“At the moment for my youngest it’s swimming. It’s also nice to just relax a little, take a break, spend time with family and catch up with friends.”
6:30am Check our animals are sorted; complete chores like the endless amount of washing. Get my own children ready for school.
7:30am I complete an indoor and outdoor check to make sure everything is ready for the arrival of family day care children. Once the safety check is done, I organise activities for the day.
8:00am Breakfast with my family before they go to catch the bus.
8:30am Open for Family Day Care. Each day is unique; I look forward to what the day may bring!
4:30am Close of Family Day Care for another day. It’s time to clean up and reset the environment for the next day.
After work After work I take some time to relax before I take my children to organised sport, the gym or help them with assignments.