Despite only beginning her career in family daycare two years ago, Launceston's Lydia Burr has been recognised as a rising star in the industry.
Lydia Burr, 21, of Launceston Family Day Care, has taken out top honours at the 2021 Family Day Care Australia Excellence in Family Day Care Awards and said the win still felt "surreal".
Now in its tenth year, the event is the only national awards program dedicated specifically to recognising the work and achievements of family daycare educators across Australia.
Ms Burr took home the Emerging Star Award for excellence in early childhood education and care.
The Emerging Star Award recognises an educator that is relatively new to the family day care sector, but has managed to make an impact in that time.
"Our Star Award winners showcase the incredible talent and wisdom within our sector," said Family Day Care Australia chief executive Andrew Paterson
"We are thrilled to recognise the achievements of Lydia and the positive impact she has on her children, families and local community".
Mr Paterson said the awards were also an opportunity to highlight the unique benefits of family daycare to the wider community.
"The high-quality education and care and holistic learning environments provided by educators like Lydia is what makes family daycare so unique, and is the reason why so many families chose family daycare," he said.
Ms Burr said working in family daycare was in her bones, with her mother, Martine Burr working as a family daycare educator for nearly 20 years.
Running her family daycare out of the same room that her mother used, Ms Burr said she was honoured to continue the legacy.
Family day care differs from the traditional daycare format, with a small group of children- a maximum of seven-, being cared for in the educator's home.
In a 2019 survey by Family Day Care Australia, respondents cited that they chose family daycare for its unique natural home environment and small group settings.
For Ms Burr, the small group setting means she gets to know each child and format activities to suit their interests and developmental stage.
"One of my kids is really into dinosaurs at the moment," she said.
"So I've created a dinosaur corner for him.
"I really love that flexibility, it keeps me on my toes."
Her recent award win is also part of a family tradition, with mother Martine winning the Tasmanian Family Day Care Australia Educator of the Year in 2012 and being named the 2017 Excellence in Family Day Care regional winner for Launceston and the North.
Ms Burr said working in family daycare was always her dream, and she can't see herself moving away from the family daycare sector.
Looking after four children on an average day, she said she had formed close connections with each of the children and their parents.
"It's more personal because it's a smaller group and I think it's special inviting the kids into your home.
"They see the photos of your family on the wall and it's just really special."
Nominated by the families of her family daycare children, Ms Burr said the award was a welcome surprise.
"I was very honoured and very humbled to be nominated by the parents," she said.
"I feel very appreciated and very loved.
"It's made me feel like I'm on the right track."
Ms Burr said she would encourage anyone else with an interest in childcare or early childhood education to consider a career in family daycare, citing the flexibility and close connections with the children as highlights of the job.
Her sentiments were echoed by Mr Paterson, who said the industry was "unlike any other" and provided a path to a rewarding career.
"Our qualified educators run their own small business from home, combining their passion for early childhood education with the opportunity to build a flexible, rewarding, and secure financial future," he said.
"We think that's pretty special."
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