You’ve probably heard it before: children’s brains develop connections faster in their early years than at any other time in their lives. Elyse Clark, fascinated and inspired by her own daughter’s learning and development, decided she wanted to have a true impact in these most important years, and chose to study a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood).*
*Now the Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (Birth – 8).
“I believe that there is nothing more special than watching children learn, develop and grow”, says Elyse. “I am excited to go to work every day and contribute to giving young children the best start in life.”
Juggling study and parenthood was made easier by the supportive environment at Flinders. The unpredictability of parenthood means personal circumstances can change in an instant and while Elyse’s fondest memory from Flinders started with panic, it ended with one of the best experiences of her degree.
“I had a tutorial in the evening and was notified that my babysitter was no longer able to care for my child at that time,” said Elyse. “I notified the tutor, who kindly suggested I bring my daughter along to the class. When we arrived, the tutor had set up textas and paper for my daughter to use during the class. As this was an art class, we were engaging in various art forms such as drama and dance and it was an absolute blast. I will never forget the kindness of this tutor.”
Placement opportunities throughout degrees are the perfect way for students to put their best foot forward and make a lasting impression that can directly lead to a job. Elyse completed placements at a childcare centre and Henley Beach Primary School over the course of her degree, giving her a diverse range of experience across both learning environments. Her placement mentors and university liaison made her feel ‘supported and empowered’, giving her the confidence to pursue a career in Early Childhood Education.
After her first placement, her hard work paid off and she was offered a role as an educator at the childcare.
“I remained at this site as an educator for the duration of my studies, utilising my knowledge to obtain the role of Educational Leader where I would support my co-workers with their documentation and observations”, says Elyse. “Upon completing my degree, my workplace offered me a teaching role”.
After six months in the teaching role, Elyse made the move to Western Australia where she now works as a classroom teacher in a government school and credits her success to the passion instilled into her by Flinders’ Education tutors.
“The teaching team at Flinders University were extremely supportive and respectful”, says Elyse. “The previously acquired ideas and concepts held by myself and my peers were challenged in a way that enabled us to grow and develop our own unique pedagogical practices. I felt the tutors believed in my capability as a preservice teacher and that they valued my input.”
Elyse’s advice to those about to study Early Childhood education revolve around being open-minded when learning.
“I would say be open to having your views and opinions challenged”, says Elyse. “I found that the readings and conversations I engaged with contributed to forming the individual pedagogy I possess today. I would also say ask the questions! The teaching team at Flinders are so supportive and full of knowledge. Don’t be afraid to ask for their advice or understanding.”
With early childhood teaching jobs predicted to increase by 21.6% between 2021-2026*, there’s no better time to check out Flinders’ Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (Birth – 8) and kickstart your career.
* (National Skills Commission, 2021 Employment projections for the five years to 2026).