Head Teacher, Giraffe Early Learning Centre, Sydney, Australia
Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Teaching)
Sharing her world views and encouraging children to apply themselves is what she loves most about early childhood education, says Kennedy Mahe.
“I’m a head teacher for an amazing brand-new centre that has just opened in Balgowlah, Sydney. I took this opportunity to grow and to challenge myself as I’m passionate about giving children a positive learning experience.
“My AUT qualification is reassuring for the families, and we have regular korero on how to raise their young children. I’m often asked to present activities and early childhood education principles to the parents, so they can identify a way of working that aligns with their values and beliefs. Thanks to studying at AUT I can share my insights, so the parents can make an informed decision.”
A place to connect
There were many highlights throughout her studies, says Kennedy who graduated in mid-2018.
“What stood out most for me were the friends I made while studying. It was good to know I wasn't alone as a Māori and Pacific Islander student. There were things and events we took part in, and it was reassuring to know that you could connect in and share with others.”
She is proud to be one of a growing number of Māori speaking early childhood education practitioners.
“I believe that te reo has a place in education, and it’s our collective responsibility to nurture and promote te reo Māori in all education settings.”
Advice for other students
Focus and finish your studies, Kennedy advises other students.
“It’s all for naught if you don’t complete your degree. A completed qualification tells others that you can back your stuff up. It’s not just that you’re a nice person and love educating young minds; it shows you have a solid understanding of early childhood education.”
Think about your future, she adds.
“Time moves, whether or not you complete your qualification. Ask yourself: Do you want to be in the same place three years from now? Or do you want to take up this learning challenge and come out the other side with a recognised qualification that staircases into amazing opportunities?”