Dilek, the Director of Cobblers Hill Community Preschool in Figtree, loves working at Big Fat Smile because of the dedication of her colleagues and her team’s confidence in supporting her service’s child-centric, strength-based approach to early learning and care.
Celebrating 10 years at Big Fat Smile this year, Dilek reflects on her purpose, the reason why she gets out of bed every day and to go to work and is quick to highlight the importance of the first five years in a child’s life:
‘The early years can have the biggest impact on a child’s future social, emotional, financial health and happiness well into adulthood. This requires an environment where children’s voices are heard, where we work together with families and the wider community to raise our children together, hand in hand. My purpose at Big Fat Smile is to make this difference in the life of every child that attends our centres. I know that each day I work to improve the present and the future for the children of my community.’
After a decade at Big Fat Smile, Dilek looks back at an abundance of professional growth and career opportunities:
‘Big Fat Smile supports their employees to develop their skills and further their careers. My experience started off as a maternity cover for 3 months at one of our preschools. In a short time, I had the opportunity to stay with the company as a permanent Early Childhood Teacher. As my career progressed to 2IC and Educational Leader, Big Fat Smile supported me through the Early Childhood Australia Leaderships Program. The program enabled me to hone the skills and knowledge I needed to become a Centre Director.’
In her current role, Dilek has the opportunity to mentor and support educators and teachers herself. It is an important role that Dilek wears with pride. Aligning with Big Fat Smile’s values of Inclusion and Child-centric, supporting her team to place the child first when making decisions is of great importance to Dilek.
‘Thinking of the child’s individual needs, by seeing though the eyes of the child and allowing them to be an active contributor to their own learning is important for my team at Cobblers Hill Community Preschool. It involves looking at the child’s current interests and listening to their ideas. Giving children the autonomy to choose their own activities, whether they would like to rest or play, and a choice of when to eat within routines. I feel that this approach will ensure that the child develops independence and form their own ideas and opinions’.
When asked what her highlight of working at Big Fat Smile has been, Dilek is sure:
‘The children are the highlight of my day, every day. We go above and beyond for the children in our care and when you hear stories from families on how we have helped them get through tough or challenging times, it’s truly rewarding.’
Thank you Dilek for 10 years of making a difference to each child in your care. It is Big Fat Smile’s privilege to have you as a part of our Team and we thank you.