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The Joys of Caring

The move from full-time parenting back to work can be a challenging one. Having a relationship with the person who’s caring for your child makes it a little bit easier. Little Magpies Home Based gives Hawke’s Bay parents the opportunity to return to work and leave their children safely in a family setting.

Little Magpies Educarers come from all walks of life and career paths but they’re united in the joy they get from caring for young children. We carefully match our Educarers with their families, ensuring that the care our children are receiving is of a similar style and quality to each parent’s own. Whether your focus is on routine or relaxation, we’ll try to make sure your Educarer thinks the same.

Are you wondering whether the Little Magpies Educarer role could work for you? Home Based isn’t just an opportunity for parents who have a job to return to. It’s also worth exploring if you’re ready to return to work but want the opportunity to stay at home with your children.

Here’s what Jan and Larissa have to say about being an Educarer with Little Magpies.

Introducing Larissa

Larissa Thomas has been a Little Magpies Educarer for 5 years. She went straight to University from school and studied to become a Primary Teacher. Having moved to and worked in Australia in a range of Kindergarten roles, Larissa returned to New Zealand 6 years ago with her 8 week old son.

With a baby at home, Larissa was looking for an opportunity to return to work while still caring for her son. Becoming an Educarer offered her the chance to use her valuable teaching skills without leaving home. Now with her own children at 3 and 6, she’s still loving her role.

“When I started out it was just to supplement my husband’s income, but now I want to be able to feel like I’m contributing. I quite often start work at quarter past six in the morning when the children get dropped off. I drop my big kids off at kindy and school and then I look after a whole other group of children during the day.”

Larissa gets a lot of pleasure from giving her own children a wider family of children to play and grow up with. Being an Educarer has allowed her to create a wonderful caring environment that’s also a great place to learn.

“It’s really lovely, we’re like a big happy family. I’m just an extension of home for my families. I’ve had all of my children with me for between 1 and 5 years and I’ve been super fortunate with all my families. They’re very chilled and all my kids are quite relaxed. They can get muddy and they can get wet. We know mess is great and it’s about what they want to get into. I don’t mind it – our house is a home and it’s perfect for all the children.”

Larissa also loves the fact that she is well supported on the job. The network of Educarers and support team at Little Magpies combine to offer an ongoing source of information and ideas. That’s great for finding new ways of doing things.

“People come from different backgrounds – some have been doing this for 15 years and others come from other backgrounds and have new or different ideas. We all work together so even though you’re working on your own you also have a huge feeling of being part of a team.”

There are lots of things to be thankful for in her role at Little Magpies. Most of all Larissa is thankful for the opportunity she has had to stay at home with her own children and play an important role in the lives of others. She recommends it to anyone who loves caring for kids.

“I’m so thankful that I got 3 years at home with my children and I got to see all their firsts. Now an important part of my role at Little Magpies is making sure my families still get to take part in those important moments that happen during the day. I love it and it’s a great opportunity. I hope more people get to experience it too.”

Introducing Jan:

Jan Winson has been a home educator for 28 years. She started when one of her friends was ready to go back to work and she had the opportunity to look after their child. After working for a range of different Home Educators, she joined Little Magpies a year and a half ago.

“I love the children and the fact that my home becomes their second home. We’re a close unit and the families become like an extended family. You get to know the whole holistic view of the child like what they call their grandparents and the names of their animals at home. It’s very personal.”

With such a personal connection, it comes as no surprise that Jan ends up looking after whole families of children as younger siblings take the place of older ones and she continues to keep it in the family.

“I have 5 different children at the moment but only ever 4 in one day. Over the years I’ve varied the time when the kiddies are with me around what the parent needs and what their job is. At the moment I’m supporting 4 families as I’m caring for 2 siblings. 2 of the families I’m supporting I’ve looked after the 2 older siblings and now I’ve got the younger ones.”

Jan places a lot of value in the bond she creates and the comfort she gives her parents. It’s a comfort that comes from knowing that their children are in safe hands.

“It’s a big comfort for my parents. I had a parent last year who said to me she didn’t know what she would have done if she hadn’t found me. She said ‘I was able to leave my child with you and go to work and know it would be alright.’ That’s an amazing feeling.”

Being an Educarer with Little Magpies is also about being part of a community. Jan appreciates the support she gets from the other Educarers who she’s worked with before, as well as new Educarers that she’s met since joining Little Magpies.

“The visiting teachers are amazing and very supportive and the relationship with them is fantastic. If I had an appointment then one of them would come in and help so it doesn’t disrupt my parents. Some of the ladies are just lovely. I’m so lucky to be part of such a great team.”

When asked how she would describe the pleasure she gets from her job, Jan positively lights up. It’s easy to see how much she loves what she does.

“It’s the pure enjoyment of being with the children – you’ve got to really love the kiddies. I just love the pure joy of being with the kids and the fun you have watching them grow and watching them achieve. What other job is there where you get paid to be cuddled? The kids are very affectionate and that is one of the reasons I love what I do. It’s unconditional love and it’s just a joy.”

If you would like to know more about becoming a Little Magpies Educarer, you can read more about the role here or contact Annie Gower – Childcare Consultant either by phone: 06 877 5261 or email: