Sarah Gardiner is an educator with many strings to her bow. For the first 15 years of her career, Sarah worked as a retail manager by day and a professional musician by night, and couldn’t imagine a future where she would be working with children. However, in 2013, while she was working as a manager and buyer for an educational toy store, she realised how much she loved engaging with children. “I was getting very burnt out with everything I was doing and I knew I needed a change. In 2015, I started my early childhood education placement with Gowrie Clare Court,” she says. “That was eight years ago and I’m still here. The funny thing is that I thought I was putting away that former part of me, but it turns out my work now is the perfect match, bringing all my skills together.”
Describe your journey with Gowrie so far?
I started at Clare Court as a diploma student on placement. I then took on a casual position and moved into leaderships support, before studying my bachelor’s degree and working as a teacher. This year, I started my new role at Clare Court as Educational Leader.
What is the purpose of your role?
It’s very much a many-hats kind of role. It involves coaching and mentoring all the staff and providing pedagogical support. But it really varies. It could be providing resources, on-the-fly problem solving, guiding frameworks, contributing to the Quality Improvement Plan, or collaborating on larger projects.
What are you most passionate about in your work?
As a teacher with a musical background, my passion involves music and movement-based pedagogy. My leadership and management experience means I’m also focused on how I can get the best out of teams and lean into individual strengths. Of course, I ‘m still learning what my passion may look like in this new role, which I’ve only been doing for six weeks.
What does an average day look like for you?
Each day is different. There are a lot of meetings with teachers and other services, and off-site training sessions. I try to spend as much time in the programs to see what is happening and how I can best support our teams. There are also some bigger projects I have in the pipeline. At the moment, I’m working on an audit of all the children’s literature at the service, weeding out some of the more dated texts and looking at what we need to add to our collection, as well as cataloguing all the books for a trial library interface. Like everything else, it’s a work in progress.