Local early childhood educator and family day care owner Tina Brooks has been recognised for her dedication to the industry, after being nominated in the Family Day Care Australia Excellence in Family Day Care Awards for the second year running.
Tina – who used the skills she developed while studying a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC30113) in 2020 to achieve her goal of starting her own family day care service last year – is now supporting others in kick-starting their careers as educators, with this award nomination an acknowledgment of her passion.
Tina said she was grinning from ear-to-ear when she received the nomination.
“To be recognised within this industry from such an early stage within my business has really made me proud of the hard work and effort I have put in behind-the-scenes to make my service the best it can be,” Tina said.
“It has helped me realise that even though I do what I do for my own passion, it really reflects back onto the children in my care and that is visible by the parents and community.
“I am honoured to have received the nominations and I am already a winner within my own heart after receiving the acknowledgment of what I do.”
The 39-year-old mother-of-two started Tiny’s Family Day Care at her Buddina home in July last year, after putting her plans on the backburner for 17 years to raise her own daughters.
“Running my own family day care is a dream I have had since my first baby was young,” Tina said.
“I thought about the impact I had on their journey of life at that age and how much joy it bought me teaching them and inspiring them to be amazing humans, and it was then that I realised how much I wanted to make an impact on other children’s lives too. The younger years are when children are most vulnerable and if I can be there to help, guide, nurture, teach and inspire others, I knew would feel fulfilled.
“My daughters have both reached a stage now where they are more independent and I found myself with some spare time on my hands, so I thought to myself that I needed to make my dreams a priority. With that in mind, I enrolled in early childhood education and care at TAFE Queensland’s Mooloolaba campus.”
Tina, who had been working in retail with the occasional foray into small hobby businesses in the children’s party space, began studying at the start of 2020 and quickly knew she’d made the right decision.
“I loved being back in the classroom after so many years. I have a passion for personal growth and expanding my learning and skillset, so I thrived in this environment,” Tina said.
“It’s so rewarding seeing the children’s faces light up with beaming smiles – to see their excitement and even their sense of personal achievement in what they are engaging in really lights up my soul and melts my heart with joy and gratitude.”
Tina's passion for early childhood education and care only continues to grow, with the small business owner fostering the future of the industry by taking two early childhood students under her wing for their vocational placements.
“Starting a family day care meant I could work from home and create programs I love to do with the children. It brings more freedom and flexibility with our daily rhythms and allows the children to feel more like they are at their second home rather than at a day care,” Tina said.
“I also love to give back whenever I can, so taking on students gives me the opportunity to share my knowledge and skills with others too. My ultimate goal is to increase my skills and knowledge within this industry and advance myself to a mentor position such as a family day care coordinator where I can guide and nurture other educators, or create a business where I can coach or mentor start-up other family day care educators on their journey of opening their own business.”
According to Family Day Care Australia, family day care services are responsible for the development and wellbeing of over 107,000 children across the country, with their home-like environments, smaller group sizes and flexible hours making them an attractive option for parents.
“Family day care offers the opportunity to create deeper bonds and connections with the children and their families. They really do begin to feel more like family than day care children and I love opening my home and heart to them,” Tina said.
“Because the numbers are lower here, each child has the opportunity to create deeper bonds and friendships with myself, family and the other children. Each child has a more tailored experience with their learning due to having more one-on-one opportunities with the child and the educator.”
The Department of Education, Skills and Employment is projecting a 10.2 per cent increase in employment opportunities in the childcare sector nation-wide over the next five years, and with eligible Queenslanders currently able to study the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC30113) for free under Federal and State Government funding initiative JobTrainer, entering the industry has never been more affordable.