As a father of two grown-up children and an early childhood educator with almost 20 years’ experience, Ashley Nunan knows a thing or two about children. The Gowrie Broadmeadows Valley Early Years Leader began his education journey working at a Special Education Developmental school on the Gold Coast, where he grew up.

“I always knew I wanted to work with children, and this inspired me to enter the early childhood sector, completing my Certificate III and Diploma of Early Childhood Education,” he says. “I have worked in several early childhood settings ranging from university and not-for-profit, to council and private organisations in Queensland and Victoria.”

Ashley is aiming to establish a father’s group in the community, with the focus on helping fathers engage with their children from birth. Before the pandemic, volunteered with the Fathering Project, visiting schools, providing fathering tips and helping children connect with their dads. “Those early stages, when children are learning and their brain is developing, are a crucial time for fathers to be involved,” Ashley says. “I’m trying to advocate for fathers, to support them and help them interact with their kids.”

Describe your journey with Gowrie so far.

It has been an exciting and rewarding journey working with Gowrie since 2017. I started my career with Gowrie as a casual employee and soon after became an Early Years Leader of the under-3s room, which I am still enjoying and learning in 2022. During this time, I have had many opportunities and have learnt, with support, to gain many new skills and advance my knowledge to become an effective leader in the ECE sector.

What is the purpose of your role?

My purpose is to be an effective leader that sets the tone for the entire program, and to create a positive culture that fosters growth and learning for the educators, children, families and community. It is to create a positive, nurturing, and stimulating environment for children to learn and grow, to build strong relationships with families and staff, and be an advocate for the early childhood field.

What do you love most about your role?

I have the opportunity to influence and shape the lives of young children and their families, and to equip children with the skills to be effective and engaged learners. I also love building strong relationships with my fellow educators and students, and helping them through coaching and mentoring that further supports their continuous personal and professional development.

What are you most passionate about in your work?

I am passionate about creating a positive culture within the program that will foster growth and learning and to support the early childhood field in general. I am passionate about making a difference in the lives of young children, by equipping the children with the skills and capacity to be effective and engaged learners and to empower and shape their future.

What does an average day look like?  

Every day is different. Preparing and developing a safe and secure environment is paramount, then the learning and fun begins. I have a variety of children who all have different personalities, abilities, passions, humour, and strengths, so ensuring the program is developed in collaboration with my team to extend on each child’s skills, interests and abilities is important and rewarding. As an Early Years Leader, each day I also motivate, influence, mentor and coach my team of educators to create the best quality of learning.