Growing up in Broadmeadows Valley, one of the eldest of six children, Sabiha always felt a strong sense of community. It was this community that inspired her to forge a career in early childhood education. “I did my TAFE course right after high school as I always knew I wanted to get into teaching,” Sabiha says. “Six months in, I got a casual job and continued to work while I finished my diploma.” After stints at several different early childhood education services, Sabiha joined Gowrie Victoria as a casual, before becoming the Early Years Leader in the very community that inspired her. Earlier this year, she stepped into the Assistant Manager role at Carlton Learning Precinct. 

Describe your journey with Gowrie so far?

It’s been an amazing journey. I started as a casual but felt so welcomed from the first day. There’s so much support and investment in staff. I worked as a casual for 18 months, learning so much about trauma informed practice and inclusion support. I then became an educator and moved into a leadership position at the end of 2019. After nine months in the 0-3 room as room leader, I moved into the three-year-old kinder room. Since moving into leadership, I’ve had all the mentoring and coaching training.

What are you most passionate about in your role?

My main motivator has always been to give back to my community. Working in Broadmeadows Valley, where I grew up, and now Carlton, I feel a strong connection to this sense of community and helping develop the next generation. I also want to be able to support children holistically, which can look very different for each family. To support the child, we first need to support the family. The communities I work in are not privileged, but I love seeing how much support the organisation puts into these places – and the amount of support you get as a staff to thrive and continuously be able to further yourself is above and beyond.

What does an average day look like for you?

In my new role as Assistant Manager, I oversee the day-to-day operations of the service. This includes managing the rostering, so we meet the regulation requirements, overseeing the kitchen to ensure we are providing healthy and tailored meals for any kind of dietary requirements. I work closely with my leadership and leadership support team through meetings and one-on-one coaching sessions to support the team in managing their classrooms, families and the complexities of working in a vulnerable community. I also oversee administration and enrolments teams, which allow our service to identify needs for each individual family and come up with a tailored approach to holistically support each child and family as best we can.