The George family (pictured above)
In Masterton where “everyone knows everyone”, it is fair to say the three George sisters, Catherine, Fionna and Natalie are pretty well-known.
Their mother Margaret previously owned a cafe and two of the girls worked there. When their business sold the family moved to a business of another kind - the sisters and their mother are now all educators. All have a passion for children, with the sisters having 11 children between them, and saw the opportunity to become educators as a fabulous solution to spending more time with them. Oldest sister Catherine Watt has been an educator for five years, taking up the job when her eldest daughter started school while she still had two pre-schoolers at home. “I just love being at home with children and as an educator I can still maintain a special connection. One of my young boys rang the other night to say goodnight because he missed me. It’s stuff like that makes it really worth it. Middle sister Fionna Omundsen, an educator for four years, says it’s one of the best decisions she’s made because it has given her more time to spend with her five children. When I worked full-time, it was a nightmare organising school holiday care so after having my fourth child, in-home childcare seemed the sensible solution. It meant I could spend the holidays with my own children, as well as my care children. Fionna’s youngest two children are at home with her each day. My daughter has made lasting friendships with some of my long term PORSE children. Each and every child I have cared for has become an accepted part of our family. Youngest sister Natalie Brock, became an educator in September last year. She enjoys being at home with her two younger boys and looking after Molly, aged one, full-time. It is so nice to be able to stay at home and run a business as well as have an extra friend for my two boys. I enjoy watching the children thrive from in-home care. Natalie’s a qualified nanny so loves caring for children, especially babies.
“It’s so rewarding seeing Molly and my boys grow and develop together. The one-on-one care creates an amazing connection. Molly’s always very affectionate and gives me big hugs, it’s just so special. Mum Margaret George, was already caring for her son’s three children part-time and her daughters encouraged her to become an educator so she could recover some of the expenses. I just love spending regular time with my grandchildren,” says Margaret. My mindset has also changed as I’ve become more focused on education. I am now far more aware of giving my grandchildren the best start in life. I have something to strive for each day.” The George family now sees more of each other, meeting at weekly PORSE activities such as music and playgroup. We love going to the outings together and our children are all great mates. It’s nice that we can all talk and understand each other,” says Fionna. The family also teams up sometimes and looks after one another’s children if one of them is sick or away. It’s a great family business. We love the children and we love sharing our stories. It’s certainly brought us closer together as we have the same goals,” says Natalie.
The King family
Anna, Linda and Michelle King and Joy Tebbutt are passionate educators all from the same family.
Linda and her sister Joy are just 15 months apart in age and are close friends. Their friendship extends to Linda’s sister in law, Michelle, who lives in Cambridge, and Linda’s daughter Anna who completes the awesome foursome.
As the two oldest of eight children, Joy and Linda have grown up caring for their younger siblings. Both went on to each have four children and have also cared for other children over the years. I had a break for about 10 years when my children were busy at school and then we moved from the city centre to a lifestyle block at Pukekohe with the perfect space for children to run around and play,” Linda says. Linda was keen to start childcare from home, so she gave PORSE a call and was overwhelmed by the efficiency of the process. Within three months she was welcoming children to her home. All the children love coming to my place – they see it as a treat. I plan different activities and every day I wake up and think about the fun day ahead.” Joy saw the success of Linda’s business, so she joined too. Being part of the same network allows the sisters to stay in close contact. At least once a week, Linda and I visit each other. This gives the children a chance to socialise with others too,” Joy says. Linda’s daughter Anna has been babysitting since she was 14. When she was 18 she travelled and worked as a nanny in the UK. On her return she contacted PORSE and started working as a nanny nearby. She now looks after two little girls in their home in Pukekohe. Anna and her mum meet up regularly with another educator for a “POD”, where groups of educators and children come together for support. This gives her a chance to discuss experiences and learn new things. “It’s nice to have something in common to talk about with my mum and aunts, but I still have a lot to learn. It’s reassuring to know that I can ask them any question and chances are, they’ll have the right answer.” Anna says New Zealand is well ahead of the UK in support for in-home educators. “In the UK the importance was placed on household management. The support we get from PORSE Programme Tutors here makes a huge difference".
Linda’s sister in-law Michelle moved from Wellington to a lifestyle block in Cambridge in April 2011. Time spent with Linda inspired her to be an educator and make the most of her spacious home. Visiting Linda over the years and seeing her sense of enjoyment and achievement at nurturing the children made me want to do the same thing. “We have the perfect set-up for children because we’re a bit rural with some animals and lots of space,” says Michelle. When they’re together, the family of educators enjoy exchanging stories of “their children’s” different stages of development. I’m delighted to have introduced my family to PORSE and to see them all enjoying their children so much.” Linda says.