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Tannille is studying an early childhood education degree at CDU

Taking the next step in my early childhood career: Tannille's story

This article appears in:
Student Stories, Education

After a few years in the big smoke, Tannille moved back to the regional, coastal town of Elliston in South Australia with her husband and young family. It was the perfect opportunity to take a new professional direction. She started a family day care centre and with her business underway, the mum of three decided it was time to gain her bachelor's degree in early childhood education. Here's her story. 

I jumped at the opportunity. This was the service our town needed and it would suit our family life perfectly. I now own a family day care centre.  

Why did you decide to pursue a career in early childhood education?

My husband is a teacher and was offered a job on the west coast of South Australia. We packed up our life in the city and moved back to the coast to be close to family and give our kids a country upbringing. 

After years of working in finance and administration, it was time for me to make a change, too. My passion for early childhood learning kicked in when our first son arrived. When I was pregnant with my second son, I was asked to help care privately for other children in our town whose parents were working. This was challenging, fun and immensely rewarding. 

When a grant was advertised to complete a Certificate III in Children's Services and qualify as a family day care educator, I jumped at the opportunity. This was the service our town needed and it would suit our family life perfectly. Fast forward a few years and I now own a family day care centre.  

Tannille is studying an early childhood education degree at CDU

Why did you decide to undertake a degree in early childhood education?

I was excited that I could use my Diploma in Children's Services to gain credit towards a Bachelor of Education Early Childhood.

I'm constantly intrigued by how different each child is. It keeps me awake at night! I was hungry to know more about how I could use each child's strengths and interests to encourage more learning. 

I started looking into professional development to complement my existing qualifications. I was excited to learn that I could use my Diploma in Children's Services to gain credit towards a Bachelor of Education Early Childhood at CDU. 

It took me a full year to consider the commitment and sacrifices of going back to study.

How would my family and I cope with placements? Would it affect the quality of my family day care service? How would it affect us financially? How will I find the time?

Ultimately, my husband, sons and I made the decision together. They were completely encouraging and supportive. 

Tannille is studying an early childhood education degree at CDU

You've returned to study later in life. How is your previous professional and personal experience helping your studies? 

I've spent most of my life communicating with a wide range of very different types of people. This is a skill that helps me to grow and learn every day.

It's something I draw on a lot as an online student. When you're studying remotely, it's important to be able to ask questions and support others through online discussion. It's also an important tool to encourage the children I care for. 

Why did you choose CDU for your teaching degree?

I felt that CDU offered the best support, resources and online platforms to meet my needs as an external student. 

I was quite particular about what I wanted and CDU ticked all the boxes. I wanted a degree that was squarely focused on early childhood education; I needed to be able to study online from my small, remote home town; and I wanted a course that would accept my Diploma in Children's Services as credit towards my degree. 

I knew others who had successfully completed their education degrees at CDU, which was encouraging and reassuring. I felt that CDU offered the best support, resources and online platforms to meet my needs as an external student. 

How would you describe your experience at CDU?

The most rewarding part of my studies is putting my learning into practice, both at home and at work. 

It's been demanding, but stimulating and rewarding. I'm really enjoying the personal challenges I set each week and the satisfying feeling of tackling them. 

Having the flexibility to study at a time that suits me has been great. 

All that said, the most rewarding part of my studies is putting my learning into practice, at home with my family and at work in my family day care centre. It makes my studies meaningful and worthwhile. 

What's your advice to busy parents considering a teaching degree

Make sure it's meaningful to you and you're passionate about children. 

Make sure that everyone around knows how much this means to you and how much you'll rely on their support. Don't try to do it alone. 

Be prepared to make sacrifices, but relish in the personal challenges and learning. 

Tannille is studying an early childhood education degree at CDU

As a working parent, how do you balance the juggle of studying, working and family? 

When I started studying, I cut down my work commitments so that I could study during the week and have weekends with my family. I find this to be the perfect balance. 

I've also taken the opportunity to study over summer semester while the kids are on holidays and I'm not working. 

I often feel the pressure of competing priorities, but my family always comes first. The support they have given me has been amazing; I couldn't have done it without them.

There have been times when I've felt guilty for studying and they've come to me with a cup of tea or a chat. It's these times that remind me we're all experiencing this together. I try to focus on the fact that my children are seeing firsthand how important it is to make sacrifices and work hard with a goal in mind. 

I focus on the fact that my children are seeing firsthand how important it is to make sacrifices and work hard with a goal in mind. 

Ready to become a teacher? Study Education at CDU to find your new world, your way. Choose to study online, on campus, part time or full time. 

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This article appears in:
Student Stories, Education

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