When Kathy Toirkens arrived to take up a teaching position at Braidwood Preschool Association little did she know that she’d love it so much she’d never leave.
“I joined the IEU because I was aware that in a community-based preschool I would be employed by volunteer parents who often have no experience in this area, so I wanted to have someone to call on for support and advice. I also strongly believe in adding my voice to the numbers of the Union in the work that it does in terms of lobbying and wage negotiations.
“Children are much more engaged in learning now as it’s much more meaningful to them and their future. I think it’s a better way to build stronger relationships with the children as they feel they are being listened to and valued.
“If I had a magic wand I’d wave it for pay parity for early childhood teachers and give big wage increases for the other educators in our services, so we’re paid a wage that reflects the value of our work. I’d also have much lower fees or free education.
“I’d like to see the continuation of the advancements in early childhood under the previous government. Their investment in and value of play-based learning was really quite significant. I know personally that our preschool would be struggling to be viable without that injection of funds.”