Co-owner, Family Matters - Hamilton
- Bachelor of Teaching
- Postgraduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education
Sarah Rolton's eyes light up as she describes one of many heart-warming moments in her job as a co-ordinator at a home-based childcare service.
"I pulled into a driveway of an educator's home, and I could hear before I even knocked on the front door the stampede of little feet coming to greet me. It was so cool."
Owning her own business
Sarah is a co-ordinator and co-owner of Hamilton home-based childcare service Family Matters.
Home-based childcare places children in groups of up to four with educators in their own home, where each network of educators is supervised and supported by a co-ordinator like Sarah.
Sarah, a mum of two, says it was inevitable that she would end up in early childhood education.
"By the age of seven I was an aunty, and at fourteen my four nephews were at home with us before and after school, while my sisters worked. So I've always been around kids," she says.
Journey to teaching
Born in Melbourne and educated in Hamilton, Sarah attended Hamilton Girls' High School. After leaving school, she completed a diploma in business administration, but dreamed of becoming a teacher. "So I decided to follow my passion and enrolled in a Bachelor of Teaching at Waikato," she says.
She completed her degree at the University of Waikato, during which she fell pregnant and had her son Brodi. In 2009 she returned to study, this time with three month old daughter Mea in tow, and completed a Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Early Childhood Education).
"It was definitely challenging studying while being pregnant and then raising two small children. But I think when you really want to achieve something you'll do whatever you can to make it happen," says Sarah.
Enjoying the variety
Now as co-owner of a successful early childhood education service, Sarah says no two days are ever the same.
"You can try and plan your day to a tee, but it can all go out the window at any minute. One day I could be doing visits with educators, then I might be covered in slime with our children at playgroup, or meeting with the Ministry of Education, discussing successful learning outcomes for children. This isn't your average nine-to-five job, but that's why I love it."
Sarah says the home-based environment stimulates early learning through natural experiences, enabling children to build a solid foundation on which to become life-long learners.
"It's learning within context," says Sarah. "My children went into home-based care when I returned to work, and their educator was able to provide the same environment and learning experiences as they had at home with me."
Sarah has fond memories of her time at Waikato, particularly her classes with Rosina Merry, a senior lecturer in Education and a transition to school expert.
Sarah couldn't imagine ever doing a different job. "In this job, you wear your heart on your sleeve, and it can be tough at times. But knowing you are making a real difference in children's lives makes it worth it."
Learn more about alumni from Te Kura Toi Tangata School of Education.