“Inclusivity isn’t about treating everyone the same. It’s about treating everyone respectfully, as individuals.”
Corinne, trainer/assessor of early childhood education & care at METS, is committed to inclusivity. She works hard to ensure her students understand its importance, by tailoring the training she provides to each of their specific needs.
She does this not only to help them get the best from their education and their time with her, but because she has an unwavering passion for quality childcare and knows just how important it is that every child’s needs are met in a way that makes sense to them.
“METS has a strong history of inclusivity,” she shares. “Even though its 30 years of training precedes structured inclusive practices in training and workplaces, it has a customer-driven approach, and offers a tailored service for each student.”
“It’s one of the things that drew me to METS; the opportunity to call on my past in Childcare, where I knew how important inclusivity was, and more recent roles, supporting the practice in centres, and assessing applications for children who need specialised attention in a childcare setting.”
Like many of the childcare trainers at METS, Corinne has been in the childcare industry for most of her career, and after injuring her back, saw her new role in training as an opportunity to continue to contribute to the field.
“I started with METS in 2021 after working in an inclusivity assessment role, and childcare operations, where I supported centres in preparing for and meeting government regulations in childcare, assessed programs to ensure they were in line with the accepted framework, and helped ready centres for rating and assessment.”
“If I didn’t have the job in inclusivity, I would think the term meant treating everyone the same and getting them to conform to the same way of learning. But undertaking that work and what I learned from it, allowed me to reflect on how I had taught and cared in the past, and how I wanted to approach things in the future.”
As an educator, and a person, Corinne believes strongly in fairness and also knows the value of consistency. But her history in these unique roles means she focuses on treating students, children, and other employees in centres with respect, while still recognising their value and needs as individuals.
“Now, with around 85 students, I make sure I take the time to understand their needs so they can do their best in the course. Sometimes, that means creating spreadsheets for those who need some help organising the challenges of studying and working full-time, other times, it means helping my ESL students respond confidently to assessments.”
“Assessments can be the toughest part for students, and sometimes questions can be interpreted in different ways – again a result of individuals with different experiences. In those situations, I aim to recognise the answer they’ve given isn’t wrong, and is valid information that will help them in their career in childcare, but may not be the most correct answer for the particular question being asked.”
She provides feedback generously and gently, giving examples her students can understand and helping them put themselves in the child’s shoes.
“It’s important my students, as childcare professionals, put the teaching they are providing into the context of an interest the child has and cater to that specific child’s needs so they learn and understand. This might mean introducing visual aids or visual routines. I do the same with my students, working to understand those who need more face-to-face time and those who prefer other ways of communicating.”
Corinne especially relates to her students who have challenges with the reading and audio side of learning, acknowledging she was also not a ‘sit-down’ learner, but learned more by doing. She shares with them that learning is different for everyone and that’s ok!
“If the written work doesn’t come naturally, that’s ok, everyone is unique. I reassure my students that the knowledge and understanding will come with practical experience and that their directors and myself are there to help them.”
“Ultimately, the goal is to ensure the children in their care are nurtured and protected so they can reach their full potential.”
Corinne found her own learning at METS much easier than the ‘sit-down’ work she had to do when she first started in childcare. In her first week-and-half, she joined the head office team to learn all about the policies and procedures of the organisation, as part of a robust induction.
“The people at METS head office were so welcoming,” she says. “After spending time with them to build my understanding of what we do and how do it, I then shadowed one of our existing childcare trainers in centre visits to see her work in practice.”
“All of the trainers at METS are very different, and while skilled and highly-experienced, facilitate training in unique ways, sharing what they have learned during their own time in the industry. Something I like about METS is, while we learn from each other and share procedures, we have the flexibility to teach our own way.”
“For me, not being able to work in childcare anymore, I love being back in the centres. I enjoy this role because I am committed to quality childcare and have the opportunity to help young people learn how to deliver it, as well as how they can build their own successful career. I also like that I get to spend more time with the kids again – they are so inquisitive during my visits and always want to know what I’m up to!”
Corinne has had various roles in childcare during her career, but we – and our students – are so fortunate she found her way into a METS training role.
Her commitment to inclusivity, her tremendous understanding and her compassion for students will help pave the way for another 30 years of successful education from our organisation.