Caring is in Debbie's nature

Family day carer Debbie Steer with her charges Asha Graham, 4, Lucas Heathcote, 4, Justin Saltmarsh, 3, Simone Vanhelferen, 4, and Meah Steer, 4. Picture: SCOTT GELSTON

Family day carer Debbie Steer with her charges Asha Graham, 4, Lucas Heathcote, 4, Justin Saltmarsh, 3, Simone Vanhelferen, 4, and Meah Steer, 4. Picture: SCOTT GELSTON

DELORAINE family day carer Debbie Steer provides a unique, outdoorsy childcare environment, which has helped her become the best carer in the North.

Mrs Steer, who has been caring for children for more than two decades, has been nominated by parents for the national Family Day Care Educator of the Year Award.

She will go up against other winners for the state title this month, and may then compete in the national awards

Mrs Steer said she provided children with many opportunities for outdoor learning, as well as weekly visits to the local kindergarten.

"A considerable component of our learning focus is natural learning - caring for our chickens, collecting eggs, picking grass for the guinea pigs, allowing our children to develop a sense of responsibility for living things as well as our own physical well-being," she said.

Mrs Steer said she would be affected by any changes to childcare made by the federal government.

"The unfortunate proposals made by our government's latest budget could see a very real end to some of the invaluable services Northern Child Network provide to us as educators, not to mention the grave concern we as family day care educators have about the future of family day care," she said.

Submissions to the Commission inquiry on Childcare and Early Childhood Learning close on Friday.

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