6 Oct 2021

The one who teaches children good manners

Youth support
Congratulations to Norma Hastings from Gin Gin Family Day Care Services for being awarded 2021 Regional Educator Award – Queensland at the Excellence in Family Day Care Awards.

From left to right: Rebecca Westendorp, Service Manager, Early Childhood Services, Wide Bay with Norma Hastings, FDC Educator, Gin Gin Family Day Care Services.
Family Day Care Australia’s Excellence in Family Day Care Awards are celebrating 10 years. With more than 5,200 nominations submitted across the country; Norma’s recognition is truly outstanding. She now progresses to the National Awards.
Norma, 61 of Mundubbera, has been working with us since 2018. Norma spent a lot of time in hospital as a young girl, and was so positively impacted by the level of care she received, she decided she wanted to be a nurse when she grew up.
Following 35 years as a registered nurse, Norma still felt that need to help children and decided to look into what was needed to work in child care. She contacted our Maryborough office and our team sent her resources to guide her, while also offering direct support to get started.
Norma shares her story:
“After finishing up nursing I still felt that I could help working families in my local area by providing nannying services,” Norma said.
“I soon became so busy, I couldn’t cope with the demand!
“I could see young working families with both parents working just to pay the bills and a real need for services for young children before they are of age to go to our Mundubbera Kindergarten and Pre-school.
“That’s when I contacted Churches of Christ’s Maryborough office and with their help, decided to set up family day care in my own home.
“I care for my husband Neville and I think it’s been really beneficial for him and for the kids to be around each other, to show compassion both ways — like that ABC TV show, Old People’s Home For 4 Year Olds.
“The children love it when he reads them stories.”
Norma knows how difficult it is for local parents needing to work and is determined to provide a safe environment where parents can feel comforted in the knowledge their children are being cared for and that parents can talk to her and have a voice in their child’s education.
Norma teaches basic life skills to the children, like learning left from right, how to tie shoes, write their name and pack their school bags.
“The local Kindy teacher said she’s seen a big improvement from those children that I care for that transition from my care to the Kindy,” Norma said.
“On a Tuesday we go on our weekly outing down the street and the children will tell us which way to turn, to help in teaching left from right.
“We’ll go to the supermarket walking up and down aisles and have a treat on Tuesdays at the local bakery.
“I’m known around town, as ‘The one that teaches the kids good manners.’
Churches of Christ Service Manager Early Childhood Services Wide Bay Rebecca Westendorp said the families in Norma’s care agree she thoroughly deserves any and all recognition.
“We are very proud of Norma and the quality care that she provides to the children in her community,” Rebecca said.
“Her families relay that Norma goes above and beyond what other educators do and nothing is ever too hard.
“We are so happy Norma has been recognised in this way.”
Norma was initially shocked to hear of her award, thinking it must be a scam until she spoke to her Churches of Christ coordinator and finally saw the certificate and knew it was true.
“It’s nice to be appreciated and acknowledged for something that I am so passionate about,” Norma said.
“It’s what the families want and what the children need; I am so happy to give that to them.”
Congratulations also to FDC Coordinator, Zowie Simpson from the Maryborough office for being awarded an Emerging Star Award at the 2021 Excellence in Family Day Care Awards. Go team!
For more information and to track Norma and Zowie’s progress in the national awards, visit: https://www.familydaycare.com.au/awards/winners