Cara Nightingale

Cara is a kindergarten teacher of 15 years, worked predominantly with refugee and CALD children 0-5 years of age and their families across a variety of communities, demographics and service provider types.

She joined the AEU Branch Council, then Branch Executive, then completed the AEU’s ‘Women in Leadership’ program. From there, Cara accepted an invitation to stand for deputy vice president of early childhood. After three years in that position, she was elected vice president. Activism, advocacy, and leadership play a strong part in Cara’s vision for early childhood educators. She sees these elements as an essential part of the educator role, but believes more members need to recognise how they can exercise them broadly, as part of everyday practice.

“In the coming years I would like to see an early childhood education system that is well-funded, operates within the best conditions, and is run by professionals who feel valued, respected and fairly-paid. For this to happen, we need to foster deeper community engagement to ensure a widespread understanding of the benefits of play-based learning. We also need to develop stronger relationships with other professionals, to enable the development of a multidisciplinary approach. Ultimately, we need to ensure the voices of children are heard, and that we keep striving towards universal access to preschool education for every child.”