08 Apr 2022
TAFE Kids has been open since 1985 and was one of the first childcare centres built in Mildura.
The centre is home to 69 children each day, 18 educators and one cook.
Get to know two of our longer serving educators below.
WHEN Kate Baldock first did placement at TAFE Kids in 2011, she knew she had found where she wanted to spend her career as an early childhood educator.
Following the completion of her Certificate III in Children’s Service at SuniTAFE, Kate landed a job at TAFE Kids and this year is celebrating her 10th year at the facility.
She is just one of 18 educators, who each day provide unconditional love, support and kindness to almost 70 children who attend the early childhood centre.
“I did my first placement here in the babies’ room and I just enjoyed working with the educators in that room and I really loved the space and the staff were really friendly and really encouraging,” she said.
“These are all reasons I have stayed for 10 years.”
Kate first looked into a career in early childhood after her son completed Kindergarten.
“It was at that time I thought that was something I could do so looked into studying at SuniTAFE,” she said.
“I had some really wonderful teachers and staff who helped me gain my Certificate III in Children’s Services.”
While TAFE Kids has seen some changes over the past 10 years, including expansion to the outdoor area and the development of a Kinder room, one thing that Kate says hasn’t changed is the “warm and welcoming environment”.
“The staff really work as a team, encourage each other and help each other out,” she said.
“It’s my second home. The staff are very caring.”
The staff are just one reason Kate loves her job, with the children who attend the facility one of the other major reasons.
“You get to look after some wonderful children, you see them grow and see them change,’ she said.
“On the weekend I saw two children I looked after as babies, they are now seven or eight so it was beautiful to see how they have changed, grown and developed.”
IT’S been two decades since Peta Job first became an early childhood educator.
After a four-year stint at Dareton Pre-School, Peta found her place at TAFE Kids.
“I had done some placements here, it had a good feel to it, it was a small centre, which in my head I would be a lot more comfortable in,” she said,
“17 years later and I still love the centre, the small size, the close-knit feel among the staff and the children, the fact that I can actually get the opportunity to care for multiple children from the one family and have that relationship continue on and that sense of comfort and consistently and community.
“It’s that nice feel within the centre, being a small centre, you know you will get to spend time with each of the children and watch them as they progress through the centre and get to go with them as well and still have those connections.
“It allows us to provide the high-quality care and education we strive for.”
Following the completion of Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care at MADEC, Peta obtained her Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care at SuniTAFE.
“It was great to grow my skills and knowledge on the job, enhancing my ability to provide the highest level of care and education that I can,” she said.
“TAFE Kids has also provided me the chance to further my skills, through encouraging and providing opportunities for professional development and to step up into a mentoring roll with my colleagues taking on the role of educational leader, alongside our Assistant Director.
“These have all factored into my decision to stay at TAFE Kids for this long, as well as the fact I have great colleagues and we have a wonderful, supportive work environment and culture, which allows us all to flourish as the professionals we are.”
Peta has worked with each of the different age groups, mostly spending her time with the toddlers.
“I love making those connections with children, seeing them learn and grow and seeing from one day to the next those big changes,” she said.
“One week they are standing up right and the next they are taking steps and then by the end of that week they are actually walking.
“It’s seeing them grow and develop and building a connection with them.”
Peta said there are so many benefits to children attending child care and it’s important for families to have the support that each child care can provide.
“Especially as the first five years are where huge leaps occur in growth, brain development and learning,” Peta said.
“It extends on their sense of community; they would say it takes a village to raise a child and I think if you find the right child care you are going to help develop that village sort of component for your family.
“It gives the children a chance to grow into themselves, develop their character and become their own person in conjunction with what they do with their families.
“One of our goals is to work very closely with our families, and we want to help them achieve what they want their children to achieve.”
Those wishing to following in the footsteps of Kate and Peta, can do so by studying CHC30113 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care.
The one-year course is delivered at the Mildura campus and Swan Hill campus.