Sharon Alexander has been named Outstanding Graduate in the 2018 HESTA Early Childhood Education & Care Awards.
Sharon has been recognised for designing a peer mentoring program for staff, which supports educators in setting professional development goals and encourages them to critically reflect on their work.
Described as having an innate ability to lead and a real passion for teaching, Sharon spearheaded the development of the staff mentoring program, devising clear goals and strategies to help educators improve their skills.
The program encourages staff to share their knowledge and experiences via staff meetings and peer mentoring sessions, with staff setting individual goals and identifying key focus areas they’d like to improve on.
This tailored approach towards staff professional development ensures that teachers are continually learning new skills, ultimately resulting in improved experiences for the children in their care.
“As educators, we need to collaborate and work together to achieve this common goal of making a difference in the lives of young children, as the first five years are most crucial,” Sharon says.
“My Director and I wanted to create a space where educators can communicate freely, learn from each other’s experiences, feel motivated and empowered to bring out the best in ourselves and in turn, our children.”
Sharon says the most rewarding part of her work is seeing the positive influence she can have on children’s development.
“I want to be an advocate for children and their learning because seeing the difference and impact I’ve been able to have on a child is so rewarding,” Sharon says.
Sharon plans to use the prize money from proud Awards sponsors ME - the bank for you, to undertake further professional development and contribute a portion of the funds back to Lilyfield Early Learning Centre.
“The program is at an initial stage but we really want to see how we can take this further and hopefully benefit many more educators in our industry,” Sharon says. “What is so powerful about the program is that it’s not just about mentoring, as the person who is the mentor is also learning.”