I hate the morning childcare drop off. The guilt of leaving my four year old all day with anyone that is not close family or friends gets to me. Especially when his playmates are not there yet. There has been the occasion where I have left him on the swings alone while he waits for them to arrive. Heartbreaking.
Times like that I am grateful for the distraction of work.
My son has been going to a community childcare centre since he was 2. Before that he did a short stint when he was 6 months old when I was at university. Childcare has been a necessity we have learnt to not only accept but also appreciate.
While I resent ‘mother guilt’ I do wish I could spend more time at home with him, yet I also know childcare is not doing him any harm. The Carers I have entrusted him to 3 days a week have helped him socialise, make new friends, try new foods, experience different cultures and learn about reconciliation. He learnt about his body, the environment and most importantly respect for others. Over the years I have watched him grow in confidence, stature and in to his own skin.
To do that every day with young hearts and minds is an amazing job. Being an early childhood educator would be challenging and so rewarding. I actually admire what they do. So why are as many as 180 educators leaving the child care sector a week?
Some claim it is the low wage, as little as $18.58 an hour. Considering this is a field of work dominated by women is it any surprise this is lower than the average male wage.
A campaign has begun asking the government to subsidise a wage increase for educators. It’s a $1.4bn subsidy that takes them to a professional wage. A big ask? Possibly, but when the greatest part of our child’s development is between 0 and 3, not really. They, and we as parents, need educators who are passionate, dedicated and financially rewarded.
It’s a request that many workers and their families would appreciate. And I am sure there are around a million youngsters and parents who would be grateful for it too.