Gowrie Victoria has partnered with Our Place to deliver a program designed to introduce members of the culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community to a career in early childhood education.

The program, ‘Introduction to Working in Early Childhood’, is a four-week course which ran in May giving Melbourne’s CALD community an opportunity to learn more about being part of a fun and rewarding career in early childhood education. The program was supported by the Victorian Government’s Early Childhood Tertiary Partnerships (ECTP) program, which provides additional support for Victorian students while they study to become an early childhood teacher or educator.

The Carlton Learning Precinct (CLP) is a community hub which supports many people from diverse groups, particularly from Arabic and Somali cultures. Within CLP is Gowrie Victoria, Carlton Primary School, as well as maternal and child health, parenting services, family support and counselling, and playgroups. Our Place, which is part of CLP, is an organisation which supports the education, health and development of all children and families in CALD communities, connects Gowrie Victoria to their partners in the Carlton Community Network, and develops the program to meet the needs of the local CALD community. Gowrie Program Coordinator, Penny, said that Our Place supported Gowrie to build connections with potential participants. “Our Place advised us on how to engage with the CALD community and how to respectfully communicate with them,” says Penny. “With the terrific support and advice from Our Place, we received 17 applicants from eleven diverse cultures to join the program.”

Participants spent half their time in classroom and the other half on the floor practicing and reflecting on what they learnt in class. Participants learnt about what a day in the life of an early childhood educator looks like and how being an educator is different to being a parent. They also learnt about the guiding documents educators use, how to communicate with children including in their own language, as well as STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths) concepts, numeracy and literacy, and sustainability.

CALD program
CALD program

Program Facilitator, Angela, said that the participants were highly motivated to learn. “The students were excited, and very enthusiastic about the program,” she says. “The attendance remained high across the program, which showed commitment and motivation.”

Angela said that it’s important that the participants had their voices heard and contributed to the discussion. “We reflected on what it was like for them when they were learning as a child, what they were learning and what they do with their children, as many have their own children,” she says. “The participants were given resources to read, with some in their own languages.”

We spoke with several participants who were happy to share their experiences on the program.

“I enjoyed this program because it’s beneficial for me to work with my future career and future family. My father has a private school which he runs for 13 years, but we have kindergarten to high school, and English part time program, but we don’t have early childhood, which is why I’m interested in this course.” – Malida

“Through my experience working in Japan as a private babysitter, I became interested in Australian, European, and Nordic education. What I liked about this class most is we had practical classes so we could see on the floor and the services. This was a great opportunity for us, so this is why I wanted to join.” – Reina


“My ideas and knowledge about childcare changed by doing the program. What I got to know during the program changed especially the way I approached children, the way our educators approached my children at drop-off, and I learned more strategies with children. During the class I learned a lot of information about childcare, and what it looks like to work with children is more than just play.” – Sumaya

If you are considering a career in early childhood education and you would like to learn more about programs supported by the Victorian Government’s Early Childhood Tertiary Partnerships, please visit https://www.vic.gov.au/early-childhood-tertiary-partnerships-program