Toni’s ded­i­ca­tion re­warded


Shepparton News - - NEWS - By Madeleine Cac­cian­iga

Tatura’s Toni Serra has been prac­tis­ing child­care for more than 20 years and was this month named an Ex­cel­lence in Fam­ily Day Care re­gional win­ner.

Mrs Serra was nom­i­nated by the fam­i­lies who use her day-care ser­vice for her out­stand­ing work with lo­cal chil­dren.

From be­ing nom­i­nated she then sub­mit­ted her own ap­pli­ca­tion de­tail­ing her phi­los­o­phy and work prac­tices, which high­lighted her pas­sion for work­ing with chil­dren and sup­port­ing lo­cal fam­i­lies within the Tatura com­mu­nity.

She de­cided to open up shop at home when fund­ing was pulled from oc­ca­sional care five years ago.

‘‘I was ac­tu­ally work­ing in the oc­ca­sional care field when fund­ing was taken away from the gov­ern­ment, so I de­cided there was a need for fam­ily day care in Tatura and I thought why not,’’ Mrs Serra said.

‘‘One of my fam­i­lies that I was tak­ing care of at oc­ca­sional care even came across with me, which was great,’’ she said.

Mrs Serra said she had a long his­tory of work­ing in child­care ser­vices.

‘‘I’ve al­ways done child­care be­cause I had worked as a re­liever as well, and part time do­ing oc­ca­sional care and oc­ca­sional care for the coun­cil and thought, you know what I might com­bine it at home,’’ she said.

Mrs Serra said the chil­dren saw her as more of a fun aunty than an ed­u­ca­tor.

‘‘We go to the park, we go to the li­brary, we go pretty much ev­ery­where and the chil­dren are so much fun, they are hi­lar­i­ous, the things they come up with,’’ she said.

Mrs Serra is now in the run­ning to win the ti­tle of Vic­to­rian and Tas­ma­nian Ed­u­ca­tor of the Year, which will be an­nounced on Au­gust 6.

If suc­cess­ful, she will be f lown to the Gold Coast for the Fam­ily Day Care Aus­tralia tri­en­nial con­fer­ence and gala ball, where she could then be crowned Na­tional Fam­ily Day Care Ed­u­ca­tor of the Year.

Mrs Serra said she hoped to put Tatura on the map for fam­ily day care.

‘‘I’m very hum­ble about the whole ex­pe­ri­ence, I just feel very priv­i­leged and it’s lovely to be recog­nised,’’ she said.

Greater Shep­par­ton City Coun­cil com­mu­nity direc­tor Kaye Thom­son said it was very pleas­ing that an ed­u­ca­tor with coun­cil achieved this level of recog­ni­tion for her work.

‘‘Toni has demon­strated pro­fes­sion­al­ism in her prac­tice as a fam­ily day care ed­u­ca­tor and has de­vel­oped great re­la­tion­ships with the chil­dren and their fam­i­lies,’’ Ms Thom­son said.

‘‘Toni is fo­cused on pro­vid­ing qual­ity care for the chil­dren and caters for the di­ver­sity of the chil­dren she looks af­ter, en­sur­ing they en­joy their ex­pe­ri­ence and learn new things at the same time.’’

Fun with ‘aunty’: Zachary Vigliaturo, 3, Lin­coln Bam­ford, 4, and Ad­disyn Deane, 5, with Toni Serra (mid­dle) cel­e­brate the Ex­cel­lence in Fam­ily Day Care re­gional win­ner.

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