Central Coast mum Barbara Wallisch loves children.
With two adopted daughters of her own, Wallisch has fostered more than 50 children over 28 years and in 2016 she became an early childhood education and care professional registered with Coastwide Family Day Care.
Wallisch is one of 69 regional educators selected in the 2021 Family Day Care Australia Excellence in Family Day Care Awards.
A registered nurse, she had been fostering for years when a friend suggested she would be a good fit for Family Day Care.
“I thought, yes I would love to work with children in my own home and I care for four children, aged one to four every day,” she said.
“I love it; I really enjoy the work.
“I usually look after the children until they go to preschool and have cared for dozens over the past five years.
“I also still have two long-term foster children with me.”
The Family Day Care Australia Excellence in Family Day Care Awards is the only national awards program dedicated specifically to recognising the work and achievements of the 12,000-strong community of family day care educators across Australia.
Celebrating its 10th year, the 2021 awards shine a light on the care provided to more than 93,000 children, in natural and nurturing home leaning environments across the country.
Family Day Care Australia Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Paterson, said educators like Wallisch provide vital support to children, families and communities all across Australia.
“The flexible, high quality early education provided by educators like Barbara is what makes family day care so unique and is the reason why so many families chose family day care,” he said.
The awards also profile the opportunities the sector affords early childhood professionals, he said.
“Family day care offers a career like no other; our qualified educators run their own small business from home, combining their passion for early childhood education with the opportunity to build a flexible, rewarding and secure financial future,” Paterson said.
“We think that’s pretty special.”
Wallisch is now in the running to be named as one of four national educator finalists, to be announced on October 26.
The national finalists will then attend the 2021 Excellence in Family Day Care Awards presentation early next year, where the National Educator of the Year will be named.