‘Passionate Staff’ Culture

We recently celebrated a significant milestone at Toowoomba Gardens Child Care. This made me reflect on the ‘passionate staff culture’ we strive for and my own personal experience.

My first day on the job was as the humble cook at Highfields Gardens, this amazing brand-new facility. How exciting! Little did I know that one day I’d be managing the place. I met the owners in the first few weeks on the job and recall one of them speaking to me about the fridge in my kitchen.  This led to a more general conversation about how I was going and my past experience. Really?? In the past I had worked for large corporate run centres that didn’t embrace the passion that I had for education.

They later gave me the opportunity to manage the centre. I recall talking to them about their goals for the service and a notable priority was to ‘keep staff happy and engaged’. Unexpectedly the conversation turned to ‘what my goals’ were. I was surprised because this was not my experience of the industry norm. In fact, I’ve previously felt shaped into the co-operate mold – unhappy and unmotivated.

Our owners believe in putting staff first, valuing and appreciating them for their knowledge and enthusiasm. They actively support staff and ensure we have the required resources. As a result, happy and motivated educators are more likely to have positive relationships with children they care for. We find children respond better in an environment where they feel nurtured and loved.

The ability for staff to bring their individual perspectives and be valued for who they are as an educator is an amazing thing to be a part of. This different approach is what I feel the industry has been missing.

I am now based at our Toowoomba Gardens Centre because our owners supported my decision to further my studies. They valued my experience and passion, and created a role that allowed me to thrive whilst balancing my external commitments. As a result, I am motivated and feel lucky to work with different educators who have passion, are inspired, and are motivated. Why? We are HAPPY!

Ally Barfield