Viktoria Osust runs a Steiner-inspired service in the heart of beautiful bushland in Katoomba. She spoke to us about her gentle and expressive approach to early childhood:
Tell us about your background as an early childhood educator.
I started Family Day Care when my daughter was nine months old, nine years ago. I have a background working with children and people with a disability, and this was a really good progression from that.
What’s the best thing about being a Blue Mountains Family Day Care educator?
It doesn’t feel like work! I come from Slovakia so I don’t have a lot of family around and Family Day Care often feels like having extended family. The children kind of grow up with you. And also my daughter, Aaliya, doesn’t have that extended family so it gave her that.
Do you have a particular philosophy around childhood development?
I know what makes a child’s spirit come alive so they get really excited about what they’re doing. And by getting really excited about what they’re doing, they’re naturally exploring and learning and becoming really confident human beings.
They are being themselves and I’m feeding that; that’s it okay to be exactly who they are. I have a background in meditation and I bring my energy and my kind of calm. I give them freedom and I help to balance their energies. Sometimes they have so much energy it’s a torrent, so I help them release and express this energy.
What are the benefits of Family Day Care for children?
It’s the one-on-one attention but it’s also that personal connection. A child knows and feels when something is authentic. I think it’s this authenticity that’s really important - for them to be really heard and understood, and appreciated. Weaving that into how the children relate with each other creates so much authenticity in family day care. They’re individuals and they all have something unique to offer and it’s easier to foster this individuality in a home environment.
What do the children love about your service?
They love coming because they never quite know what’s going to happen. It’s going to be a journey every day. Even though we have a routine, we don’t stick to it absolutely to the dot. We’ll have morning tea, lunch, and afternoon tea but the day will very much depend on the mood that is created.