21st September 2019

In Conversation with Jacinta Centre Manager of Balmain Cove

children playing outdoors at Balmain Cove

Jacinta is the Centre Manager for Balmain Cove, a homely centre which features herb gardens, worm farms, and a large veranda. Jacinta took a few minutes out of her busy day to share insights on her career background, her education approach and a few fun facts.

Jacinta, Centre Manager of Balmain Cove

Tell us about your time working in early childcare and education so far and what inspires you each day?

I started my childcare career way back in my hometown of Dublin, in September 1994. I completed a  two year full time Diploma course in birth to 7seven years. I thought I knew all the answers and was ready to take on the world. But I flipped between childcare and nursing until October 2000.

In October 2000, I started in Balmain Cove Children’s Centre as a Nursery Assistant. It was then I realised I had to choose, and I chose childcare over nursing. From 2000 until 2015 I worked between two centres Balmain Cove and Sydney Cove. I worked my way up from Nursery Assistant, to Room Leader, to Nursery Coordinator to Centre Director. To keep my qualification up-to-date, I also completed an Australian Diploma of Children’s Service. I love engaging in professional development, as I believe we will always learn and grow within our chosen career path. In December 2017, I had the offer of coming back to Balmain Cove as the Centre Manager. So here I am.

I believe that by creating a sense of belonging between a centre, family and child is a priority, and allows each child to thrive alongside an Educator’s guidance. I also make sure to check in with our families daily to ensure that they feel welcome and free to approach us to discuss anything.

I follow the belief that families are a child’s first teacher, and that unbreakable bond plays an enormous part in how a child will develop and view the world in their lives. Through creating a partnership between families and Educators that is strong and open, I believe that each child will develop and feel secure in our service. We aim to create environments that are based on shared decision making and a mutual trust, so that each child feels comfortable welcome, and a sense of belonging at our centre.

What have you learnt about children during your early childcare and education career and how would you sum up your approach/passion to helping them on their learning, emotional, social and life journey?

I believe that each child is a unique individual, who should be allowed to learn and explore in an enriched environment that gives them the space to build on their own interests and strengths. This can be accomplished through scaffolding, mentoring and facilitating their learning and development.

It is important to me that each child and their family interests and dreams are incorporated into the program. These interests and strengths are the foundation to their learning. Children are our future leaders and contributors to our community – their thoughts and ideas should be respected as such. I believe it is critical to make sure the education of children is from a holistic approach, which includes utilising various ideas, spaces and choices, so a child can personalise and lead their learning. I believe that children need a varying mix of structure, guidance and freedom to make choices, to be problem solvers, risk-takers, critical thinkers, communicators and collaborators. To have triumphs and take risks to create positive outcomes in their development.

What are you most excited about working with children on/teaching children about and why?

No two days are the same, children are ever evolving, and learning as are the Educators and my myself. I love the light bulb moments. I believe in the power of spontaneous moments and the ongoing reflective practice as the essential components of quality care and education programs.

4 quick fun facts about Jacinta

  1. I’m from Dublin Ireland and have been in Sydney with my hubby since 1998.
  2. I have one amazing daughter.
  3. I run the IMGDU in Sydney – Irish Mothers Group Down Under.
  4. I have completed my baby massage course and would like to next complete a sleep consultancy course. I love helping new mums, transition into the world of motherhood.

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