In today’s episode of the Nanny Spotlight Column, we’re talking with Brooke Nelson – a now Sydney, AUS based professional nanny. With a background in early childhood and education, and truly life changing experiences working overseas as a travel nanny, Brooke shares her experiences with us.
Coogee coastal walk. Photo: credit
Give us 5 words to describe you; Brooke the nanny:
Fun, enthusiastic, loving, dedicated, dynamic!
You have a background in early childhood development, tell us about that.
Working with children was something I always knew I wanted to do. I studied my Certificate III in Children’s Services while I was still at High School. I then went on to do my Bachelor in Primary Education.
So you’re also a teacher?
I have worked as a Primary School Teacher (K-6) in Bathurst and Sydney and studied at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst.
Is there a particular reason why you’re currently working full-time as a nanny and not as a teacher?
(Not that we don’t think that’s awesome!)
Moving from the country to the city meant more opportunities. When I moved to Sydney I discovered nannying and fell in love with it! It allows me to still follow my dream of teaching and caring for children but in a more informal and relaxed environment.
I find nannying such a rewarding career, as I am able to make more of an impact on children’s growth and development through the individualised attention nannying allows. I also love the close relationship you build with the children; you often feel like you become another member of their family!
Because of this experience, do you feel you can better understand the role of a nanny and the key importance they bring to in-home childcare management?
Yes, nannies can make a big difference to children and their early development. I have found tutoring in preparation for school is highly beneficial to the children, and it really boosts their confidence.
Do you like to bring in the early education aspect to your daily nanny work?
In the past I have tutored some of the children I nanny for, so have developed programs of work for them. However, mostly I find a lot of informal lessons take place- children are naturally inquisitive about the world, which usually leads to us doing different activities based on their interest at that time. For instance, we’ll read books, do some baking, role-play, have some outside adventures and some arts and crafts, all based on a certain topic.
I also like to keep a diary of what we have done in the day, as well as emailing photos to the parents of the fun we have had.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced, or face, during your nanny career?
Leaving a job after becoming so close with the children is always difficult. Thankfully I have managed to keep in touch with most families I have worked for. It’s amazing catching up with old families and seeing how much the children have grown!
What’s your take on the nanny industry and community?
The Nanny industry is gradually developing in Australia. It is great to have support groups such as the Australian Nanny Association and the various nanny agencies out there. I have found there to be an amazing, supportive and friendly nanny community in Sydney, which makes the job so much more enjoyable.
How would you like to see the industry evolve?
There is big potential for the nanny industry to evolve in Australia, and I am looking forward to it becoming regulated in all areas so that we are always provided with fair conditions and the career is given more credibility.
Tell us about being a nanny overseas!
Nannying overseas was an absolutely amazing experience! First I was a summer au pair in Spain, where I nannied and taught English to two boys. Living with the family was the best way of experiencing the Spanish culture, as well as expanding my Spanish vocabulary. It was a massive culture shock for me, as there were not many English speakers in the village, however I enjoyed the challenge and gained so much from the experience!
Afterwards I moved on to the hustle and bustle of London, and nannied for two gorgeous little English boys. London has a great nanny community and I made some really lovely friends who made the role even more enjoyable.
While living in Spain and England I had the opportunity to travel all around Europe and had the most amazing adventures! Living and working overseas was the time of my life and I would recommend it to everyone!
Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning?
Doing the coastal walk Coogee to Clovelly. I love living in the Eastern Suburbs!
What’s your favourite thing to do with kids whilst out and about?
Beach days are always fun – going for a swim, building sand castles, eating icy poles, singing silly songs. Sydney is an amazing place to be a nanny!
Do you have a favourite shop for tools of the trade in the nanny life?
Can you recommend a super kid friendly café that caters to both little tastes and big tastes?
Melonhead in Coogee is great as it has a variety of different fresh juices and smoothies that the kids love.
What’s next up on the list of your “big target goals”?
The youngest of the two beautiful girls I nanny for is off to school this year, so my next goal is to get a new fabulous nanny role!
What’s the best thing about what you do?
Nannying is more than just a job to me. Bonding with the children, seeing them learn and grow, and their little personalities develop is a really special experience.
Favourite travel destination…
Turkey! Istanbul is a magical city, and the Turkish south coast is a dream to sail. Hawaii and the Greek Islands are also favourites!
Indulge us in a little whimsical dreaming: in 5 years you’ll find me…
Travelling the world as a Travel Nanny, an ESL Teacher in Asia, or settled in Sydney with a great Nanny or Teaching role (and travelling often!) I am an adventurer at heart!
What would you say to a young new-to-the-industry nanny? Any hot career tips?
Smile and stay positive! Never stop learning and improving yourself as a nanny. Nannying has its challenges, but overall, the role is so incredibly rewarding!
>>> Would you consider being a travel nanny?