Home-based – bigger connections and greater independence
Kylie McLean has recently transitioned from head curriculum leader at a preschool daycare centre to home-based educator with Tiny Nation. Kylie is representative of everything that Tiny Nation stands for – qualified ECE professionals offering quality education, and she couldn’t be happier with the change or her choice.
“I have been a teacher at a centre for over 11 years – 3 of those as head curriculum leader, but I was craving a bigger connection and greater independence,” Kylie explains. “Lockdown caused a shift in my priorities, I realised how little time there was before my own children grew up and moved on, so I decided to take action and take this next step, for my career and for my family.”
Kylie advocates this opportunity for teachers, emphasising that she remains a teacher, in fact a more productive and fulfilled one. She can focus on quality now that she isn’t so concerned with the quantity of children. She feels that she can offer the children in her care more than she could in a centre environment, due to the smaller 1:4 ratio.
Kylie says that closer relationships with children has already shown tangible results – within 4 weeks it became noticeable how much more she could offer, including being able to identify individual needs earlier and address specific learning opportunities much faster. The connection extends to families too, instead of managing relationships with 30 different sets of parents, Kylie can instead focus on quality relationships and be more flexible for parents who are also juggling busy lives. This flexibility includes being available to meet families at their convenience, not just during centre opening times. “It makes those first few visits with family more comfortable for them. Because I’m not restricted to office hours, partners can visit together at a time that suits them, reducing the stress on the parents and ultimately the child,” explains Kylie.
Long-term career opportunity with decision-making power
Kylie emphasises being a home-based educator isn’t the equivalent of being a babysitter and it’s incorrect to make that assumption. “We deliver the same Te Whāriki curriculum as centres and kindergartens, while Tiny Nation advises on Ministry of Education approved policies and procedures.” Kylie feels so passionately about her decision that she can’t see herself returning to employment in a centre. She is sure that she has made the right choice and is in this for the long-term.
Kylie is enthusiastic about the benefits of being self-employed, including being able to choose her own hours. It’s meant that she is at home when her own children are leaving for school in the morning and she is there when they walk back through the door in the afternoon. “When I worked in a centre I wasn’t able to choose my own hours, I’d come home, after my commute, to tired and hungry teenagers,” explains Kylie, “being self-employed and working from home has made our own home/life balance better.”
Choosing a professional and supportive provider
Kylie acknowledges that becoming self-employed can feel like a big leap but says choosing the right provider helps. Having felt a spark whilst investigating Tiny Nation, because she felt their philosophies were aligned, she says that the team there couldn’t have been more supportive and began advertising for business for her. Kylie’s mindset was to be patient as it was something she really want to make a success of, she felt that everything would fall into place. “And it did,” Kylie says, “I had one child initially and I went out into the community – physically and virtually.” Kylie maintains an active Facebook page A Home-Based Education With Kylie where she provides examples of her programme, engages and interacts with the parenting community, details activities and learning outcomes. Within a weekend Kylie had 5 enquiries from parents that were attracted to her service and even had a waiting list.
Kylie thinks that other teachers should seriously consider home-based education as a career move and her advice to teachers is to choose what will make them happy.