Lisa is a mother to four and grandmother to one. She has worked in a diverse range of roles, from administration at the IRD and the Department of Corrections to commercial seamstressing, and most recently as the Manager of Design and Production for the Taupo Times, where she produced six community newspapers a week.
A blessing in disguise
After Lisa was made redundant from the Taupo Times, she found herself at a local centre covering the cook’s maternity leave, and eventually stayed on in an administration position. Her rapport with the children was evident to her colleagues, and they encouraged her to enrol in the Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education).
Never short on support
“I liked the concept of studying my degree online,” says Lisa, “and I felt confident I had the time management skills to do so. I have an analytical mind and really enjoyed sourcing information myself.” She felt supported at every stage of study; making good use of IT Help, the on-call lecturers and the discussion forums. Travelling to Auckland for the twice-yearly block courses was a highlight: “[The lecturers’] knowledge and passion invigorated me to learn and achieve more, and instilled in me a desire to achieve my degree… This was crucial to my development as an early childhood teacher.”
The driving force
Lisa qualified with her Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) in August 2013. The following month her provisional teacher registration came through, and she applied for and was appointed as Head Teacher in the centre she was working at. Unbeknownst to Lisa, she was about to embark on one of the biggest challenges of her career. “Just before my interview, [the centre] was marked as a possible centre of concern. Once I had been appointed as the Head Teacher I was then told I had two months in which to radically change the performance of the pre-school… and instigate a robust curriculum and planning documentation,” she explains. “I achieved this with the help of my team, and, before Christmas 2013, we were able to have our centre taken off the list as a centre of concern.”
Building on momentum
Lisa’s current focus is on encouraging her team to recognise and respond more to the children’s interests. She’s leading a self-review on Effective Program Planning and following this up with monthly reviews. To date her team has been “responding beautifully”.
Making use of her skill-set
Her degree - coupled with her previous roles - means Lisa has a wealth of experience to draw from. “Something I love about my job is when I take my sewing machine onto the floor with the children and together we cut out and create things. We’ve made many family play costumes, a big monarch caterpillar, a cocoon and a butterfly. I find this activity very rewarding to do with the children because they are helping and learning with all aspects of the projects we undertake.”
Continuing in excellence
Lisa knows it is up to her to see that the centre continues to progress. After she graduates (in absentia) in April, she will head back to New Zealand Tertiary College to begin the Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Early Childhood Education). She believes this will enable her to lead her team in their aim of providing the best learning environment for the children.
“I want to lead with passion and commitment; inspiring lifelong learning skills in the children… and to do this, I need to be a lifelong learner myself.”
To apply for our Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Early Childhood Education) program, or any one of our specialist early childhood qualifications, please click HERE.