Team member spotlight – Kindergarten Inclusion Support Additional Assistant

Mother and daughter

Pictured: Erin in nature and with her daughter, Phoebe, sharing quality time.

Meet Erin, one of our incredible Additional Assistants (AA), part of the Kindergarten Inclusion Support Program at Gateways Support Services. Her role is all about working closely with staff, specialists, and additional services within the kindergarten environment to create a supportive and enriching environment for little learners. Outside of work, Erin enjoys outdoor adventures, especially when she’s spending time with her daughter Phoebe (pictured above).

On a typical day as an Additional Assistant, Erin provides general housekeeping, tidying learning spaces, and provides age relevant learning opportunities through play and social interactions. Providing activities based on age and interest, while creating a trusting, open, and respectful educational environment, allows children to thrive socially and emotionally.

One of Erin’s most memorable experiences she can recall was, ‘when a child was attempting to throw a ball into a bucket, and after trying, and failing several times, I sat down beside him as he was visibly frustrated with his efforts. I reassured him, that he was very close and to not give up and that I believed he could do it. After some cheering on and coaching from his kinder friends who wanted to join the efforts, he succeeded in his efforts to do what he thought was not possible. The smile on his face will be a moment I will cherish, and the child seized the opportunity to push on, and in turn, learnt about the benefit of perseverance, and comradery.’

Erin uses a proactive approach to safety and accessibility, she says, ‘I am always scanning the kinder environment for any potential hazards, or potential modifications or minor adaptations that may be of assistance in terms of implementing a safe environment for all. Anything that may open up the opportunity to provide a more inclusive environment for the children and their needs.’ Collaboration and open communication with the staff ensure the best outcomes for the children.

This role has allowed Erin to acquire background knowledge in the field of childhood mental health and affirm the importance of providing inclusive and culturally safe environments. This knowledge helps shape her holistic and thoughtful approach to supporting each child’s journey. She says, ‘All children need to feel heard, understood, and feel empowered in their journey, in all aspects of their life, from early childhood through to their later years.’

Are you inspired by Erin’s story and passionate about making a difference in children’s lives? If you’re considering a role as an Additional Assistant, Gateways could be the perfect place for you. We’re looking for individuals who are eager to contribute to our inclusive, supportive community. Learn more about joining our team and how you can help shape the lives of children and families by visiting our website for more details.