Working in ECEC

Wynn Ann Fahey

Wynn Ann Fahey: Supervisor and Early Childhood Educator, Bloomsbury Child Care Centre, St. John’s Newfoundland

Child care is a labour of love. Just ask Wynn Ann Fahey, a former primary school teacher who took a big pay cut when she got her first job in child care 17 years ago.

A pilot outreach child care program at the YWCA is what started it all. She was hired to implement it and along the way became interested in working with four-year-olds.

Fahey subsequently got a job at a child care centre, working her way up to assistant operator. By the time she was hired at Bloomsbury in 1995, she’d already been working as a supervisor for a number of years.

When the provincial government brought in Early Childhood Education (ECE) certification requirements in the late 1990s, Fahey “fell in between the cracks” and had to take courses to certify even though she’d worked for two years as a primary school teacher.

After about two years of distance education, she received her Level 4 ECE. Completing all the requirements in such a short time was hard, but she was exempted from many of the courses because of her teaching experience.

Fahey starts work at 7:40 a.m., working a full day on the floor with the four-year-olds. Her administrative duties—issuing receipts, and cheques for staff salaries; dealing with staffing issues; and planning the centre schedule and activities—are all done afterwards. “I love working on the floor,” she says. “I would not want to just take on an administrative role.”

The biggest challenge is finding qualified staff. “It all boils down to making ends meet. ECEs can’t survive on the money they’re making.”

Nonetheless, Fahey loves her job: the staff at her centre work as a team, and she finds it gratifying that she is contributing to the social, emotional and cognitive development of children. “Every child should attend day care—for the social experience alone,” she says.