Kool Kids Early Learning Ashmore’s lead educator Bec Whiting has been named as the Gold Coast’s favourite early learning professional by Gold Coast Bulletin readers.
The Labrador resident has lived in the Gold Coast her whole life and has worked in childcare for almost 40 years. From school she wanted to pursue the passion for teaching young children she discovered when helping with the creche at her local church.
Now a valued lead educator at Kool Kids Early Learning Ashmore, Ms Whiting said that Kool Kids was her home away from home.
“I’ve worked at Kool Kids for almost 12 years, it’s small and homely and I love it. Even on my holidays I still pop in to see my children and the team. They ask me why I’m there and I simply reply that I just love it.
“I work in the nursery room and I’m very passionate about giving the babies all the comfort and affection they need to feel settled as well as reassuring the parents because it’s often the first time they are leaving their child.
“I like to build relationships with the families, get to know them and send them lots of photos of their babies so they can see they’re enjoying socialising with other children and exploring their world,” she said.
“Sometimes families will arrive with the children still in pyjamas and juggling a million things at once and they apologise so I like to be that support who can say to them, ‘it’s ok, don’t worry, I can do this for you’.”
Ms Whiting used to run a playgroup for single mums 13 years ago. There, she was able to support mothers who were often quite nervous on their parenting journeys.
“I loved talking to the mums and helping them where I could. It was so rewarding to see them come back and feel more comfortable with motherhood. I’m still in contact with them and some of their children are now adults with their own children. I love forming those relationships.
“I don’t expect to receive things in this job, I do it for the children and the families, but receiving the recognition that I’ve helped means the world.”
It was through nurturing these family relationships that Ms Whiting learnt she had been named as the Gold Coast’s favourite early learning professional.
“One of the parents messaged me privately and said congratulations. I didn’t know what she was talking about until she forwarded me the link and I just burst into tears. I cried all day because I felt so loved.
“My colleague Kim and I were just screaming and jumping up and down with excitement. I even got emails from current and former parents saying that they couldn’t vote but wanted to and were so happy I won.
“I really can’t explain how it all made me feel, it’s just a beautiful feeling knowing that families that used to come here still think of me. I feel privileged and loved and it’s so special.”
Ms Whiting sums up her average day at Kool Kids with the word “sweaty”.
Her day starts at 6:30am to set up and organise the Zen Garden next to the baby’s room. Then the children arrive, have breakfast and the day does not stop until 2:30pm when Ms Whiting goes home.
“We try to follow the baby’s routine as much as possible and the parents tell me what they would like. So, when there are four babies in a room and potentially four different routines, you’re never sitting down.”
Ms Whiting said that her experiences in the sector have definitely changed over the years.
“When I was an assistant educator, I didn’t see the paperwork side because I was too busy playing! Once I became a lead, I got to be a lot more involved with the children and helping them grow.
“The sector is just going to keep getting better. I love mentoring the younger educators here. We make this bond and I want to see them grow, explain things to them and give them encouragement that they can do anything they want to. A lot of people I’ve mentored are lead educators now and I’m so proud of them.”
Kool Kids is part of G8 Education and is one of more than 430 early learning centres around the country offering quality early learning education and care.
G8 Education Regional Manager Kylie Van Der Stok said that they were so proud of Ms Whiting for the award .
“It’s wonderful to see Bec’s ongoing dedication to early learning recognised in this way.
“At a time when we are wanting to attract more educators to the sector, it’s great to emphasise what really makes this work so special – making connections with children and families that create the foundations for learning for life.”