Valerie Polis

Ever wondered what a typical day is like at Big Fat Smile? Join us as we follow Alicia Doolan, the warm and nurturing Centre Director at Barrack Heights Community Preschool, through a typical day filled with laughter, learning, and a whole lot of heart.

As the morning sun rises

Alicia arrives at the centre, ready to begin another rewarding day. “A typical day at Big Fat Smile in my role would be arriving at the centre, with a big good morning to our families, children and chickens.” Yes, you read that right – even the chickens call this place ɫС˵!

The morning is a whirlwind of activity, but Alicia navigates it with grace. “Each day upon arrival, I spend time in both our early learning room and our preschool room, creating and strengthening our relationships and connecting with the children and families.” From children running up for hugs to wanting to hold her hand, it’s clear these little ones feel safe and at ɫС˵ with Alicia and her team.

As joyful as a child’s birthday party

Hugs, high-fives, and happy faces overflow throughout the day. “At any time, you can see joy, imagination, creativity, and exploration, especially on the faces of our little ones,” Alicia shares. “The wonder that a child sees and hears as they learn something new for the first time, as they explore and try hard to perfect a skill, as they crawl, walk, eat, sleep, talk and build friendships for the first time in care – these are all the little moments that really are the big moments in a day.”

Big growth and heartfelt camaraderie

At the heart of it all is the unwavering support across the team and wider organisation. Alicia shares, “I love to watch educators grow, which has been a huge part of my role at Big Fat Smile. In my time here, we have re-established a new team, a strong culture, and brought back the great explorations and experiences for all children and families. I am very proud of the changes that we have made.” And Alicia has been recognised for this awesome work, by getting two Values Award nominations which “not only made the harder days better but also showed that with hard work comes great success and that all the little speed bumps along my short but memorable journey have been worth it.”

Facing challenges with style

Of course, every job has its challenges, and Alicia keeps it authentic by admitting that there were some in her early days. Challenges come with change, especially for children, particularly when there’s a new team and director. “However, with perseverance we overcame these and were able to get to the other side. Changing and challenging practices is always a big focus for me. Just because something is always done one way, does that mean it is best or right? This was a question we reflected on a lot as a team, creating a lot of collaboration and success for our team now.”

From chatting with Alicia, it’s apparent that she navigates challenges with kindness and empathy. “I think regardless of our backgrounds, experiences or qualifications, we are all human at the end of the day. You only know what you know, and you can only learn and take on so many new things in one day.” Her positive attitude and willingness to adapt, allow Big Fat Smile to continually evolve while keeping the team united.

The low down

So, what’s Alicia’s take for anyone considering a career at Big Fat Smile? “You will not be disappointed. The grass is definitely greener here. The support, the role models, the immense knowledge that our large team encompasses – it allows all educators and teachers to continue to grow and develop every day.”

In her own words, Alicia sums up her meaningful experience: “My time at Big Fat Smile has been challenging, fulfilling, life changing and inspirational. I have already learnt and grown so much and have become so much more confident about what we are capable of and what we do on a daily basis for each child and their families.”

So, there you have it – a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the heart of Big Fat Smile, where passionate early childhood professionals come together for an adventure worth smiling about every single day.

We’re always on the lookout for upcoming Trainees and experienced Early Childhood Educators, Teachers and Centre Directors for our day care and term only preschools in the Illawarra, Southern Highlands, Goulburn and Sydney areas.

Search our current jobs here, or learn more about the benefits of working at Big Fat Smile here.

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