Thanks for chatting with us today, Carla. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your interests?
In 2016 I graduated with my Masters in Speech Pathology. Prior to that, I completed a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Linguistics. My interests have long centred around language, but I also love literature, creative arts and politics, with a particular interest in gender studies. I'm an avid traveller, with stints living in Italy and Latin America, and other trips throughout Asia and Europe during my time at university. I speak fluent Italian and intermediate Spanish, and am happy to utilise these skills in my work with children. I have a close relationship with my family- I have two older sisters and a niece who is eleven months old, which has given me a lot of recent experience working with young children. In my spare time I like to read, write, go to the cinema, attend life drawing classes, dance, practice yoga, camp and go hiking.
What has your experience working with children been like?
Over the past 8 years I have had a lot of varied experience working with children. Initially this began as casual, sole care nannying/babysitting while at university, doing my undergraduate degree. I was then employed at a childcare centre caring for groups of 15-20 children as part of a team of five. I worked predominantly with the 2-3 year old age group, but also had significant experience with the 0-2 and 3-5 age groups. Since then, I've kept up my nannying practice 1-2 nights per week while doing my Masters, again predominantly with children aged between 1-5. With my Masters I also had placements with both the Royal Children's Hospital and the Department of Education. These entailed caring for, assessing and treating a number of of children (0-6 years) with various speech, language or swallowing difficulties/disorders, which has really broadened my confidence when it comes to caring for children with specific needs or atypical development. In June 2017 I started a long term placement with a Nanny Match family in Fairfield, caring for an 11 month old and 6 year old.
How do you like to work with children and families?
My approach to caring for children is definitely one rooted in child-centeredness. I find that treating children as individuals with nuanced needs, strengths and weaknesses helps to foster positive learning experiences. This probably comes from my experience in Speech Pathology where we follow the theory that learning comes from provision of achievable challenges that are tailored to the child (Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development).
Straying from any rigid child-rearing methods in favour of this individualised approach also allows the child to feel respected and, in turn, often manifests in respectful and considerate behaviour. It also allows room for the specific needs and preferences of the family. I consider the kids I take care of as friends, and our relationships as characterised by give and take; I like to weave what is unavoidably a dynamic of ultimate authority into a relationship of mutual respect.
What do you enjoy about working with children?
Ultimately, I'm drawn to caring for children for selfish reasons—I find assisting in learning to be incredibly rewarding. I also find children to be endlessly humorous and insightful- spending time with them keeps me inspired and fuels my imagination.
Thanks Carla, the families you work with are so lucky to have you in their lives!