Charleville and Districts Family Day Care is a Uniting Education Early Learning service covering territory larger than much of western Europe, so it’s fortunate service leader Ellen Lyne doesn’t mind travelling, writes Andrew McKaysmith.
Ellen’s services operate all over outback Queensland providing daycare for families in remote locations, from Weipa on the Cape York Peninsula to the new service in Bedourie, between Mt Isa and Birdsville.
“Last week, I travelled over 2000 kilometres visiting eight families; that’s how spread out the services are in my patch,” says Ellen.
“The majority of our families are on stations managing properties; they’re graziers, they do that sort of work. We’ve also got medical professionals who do long shifts and need the help, like a doctor in the Royal Flying Doctor Service.”
Helen Jolley is an educator helping a family with two boys on a property around 90 kilometres west of Charleville, near a town called Cooladdi. Helen says it is a relaxed lifestyle out west and that rodeoing has captured the imagination of her aspiring jackeroos.
“They don’t have other children to play with like it is in your city-based services; it’s just them and me,” she says. “They enjoy playing ‘buck out bulls’; we’ve got a drum bull, although the kids are too young to use that during programme hours.”
With parents gone for hours on end in the outback’s hot, dry and dusty conditions, there is a constant need for new and exciting extension activities.
Helen says she and Ellen developed a strong working relationship based on understanding the needs of the children in their care.
“The kids are creatures of habit, and sometimes I need assistance with some ‘out of the box’ thinking,” says Helen. “Ellen is very flexible and supportive, and she understands that we are remote, and it’s not going to be like a service in town or the city.”
Charleville and Districts Family Day Care also offers In Home Care. A vacancy exists for an In Home Care and Family Day Care Coordinator (Part time). You can apply through the Uniting Church in Queensland website.
If you are a service leader or educator and would like to talk to Ellen, you can reach her via email.