By James Smith | 22 January 2021
Leah Dedman was just 16 years old when she began working in early childhood and education. These days she teaches the teachers, and her love for her profession is as strong as ever.
“It was a job I tried when I was young; once I got into it, I thought, ‘This is what I want to do,’” recalls Leah Dedman, Head Trainer, Early Childhood Education and Care with Australian Technical and Management College VET.
“Back when I was still at high school myself, I started looking after children who were attending after-school programs. Then I completed my first lot of Certificates and Diplomas. After that, I began working for mainstream early childhood centres. I did that for 15 years, then I started teaching.
“I have been teaching for 12 years now, and have been working in and around early childhood education and care for over two decades.
“I have been with ATMC for three years; ever since the pilot program began,” says Melbourne-based Leah. “They had just introduced Early Childhood and Care and I came onboard a couple of months after that.”
Leah is a great example of the high-quality teaching staff which ATMC VET has to offer its students. Her passion for early childhood education is obvious, as is her ambition to find and mentor as many young people as possible who are as dedicated to passing on knowledge to the next generation as she still is.
“It is great seeing our students’ confidence levels grow,” says Leah. “They have this passion for Early Childhood. We want them to go out with the approach of, ‘Yes, this is how I want to teach future generations of children.’ It is all about discovering what kinds of teaching practices they can develop, and for them to pass on their own new-found knowledge to young children under their own care.”
Leah says the goal of the Early Childhood Education and Care Diploma, as far as ATMC VET is concerned, is for the student to be able to go and work in Early Childhood services. Put simply, it is about ensuring their students become employable.
“Our simulated environment – we have a fantastic simulated early childhood education and care environment set up on campus here in Melbourne – provides students with a real-life workplace scenario before they undertake work placement.
“It’s the hands-on aspect of our Early Childhood Education and Care Diploma which our students find most rewarding. The theory component is important, but we also try to make our classes as practical as we can.
“Our simulated environment lets our students see the real-life side of a centre and put what they are learning in their theory classes into simulated practice. Therefore, when they go out into their placement, they’re knowledgeable and they’re ready for work-placement centres.”
The importance of early childhood education and care workers has never been lost on Leah, who believes finding and educating the next generation of childhood care advocates is vital.
“Early Childhood care is something that is always going to be needed,” she says. “It is definitely an industry that is constantly growing and changing. There are always going to be parents in the workplace who require their children in this age group to be looked after and educated.
“We want to develop students’ passion for learning and teaching the next generation of young children. After all, the educators we send out into the industry today are influencing the young minds of tomorrow.”
For more information about ATMC’s VET Early Childhood Education and Care courses, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Australian Technical And Management College (ATMC) is a Registered Training Organisation (RTO ID 22158) and registered CRICOS provider (Provider Code 03013D)