Creative arts and dramatic play, are central to children's learning and development in early childhood. Nurturing imagination, encouraging problem-solving, developing motor skills and emotional intelligence. We speak with nanny, director and Art honour's student Karla Livingstone-Pardy about her values as both nanny and creative extraordinaire!
1. How long have you been nannying? How were you introduced to the industry?
I'm a part time nanny and full time honours student at Melbourne uni. I'm doing my honours in performance studies and I would say that is my biggest passion, I spend almost all my spare time directing and devising pieces for performance. I'm most invigorated when I'm engaged through learning and teaching, be this with friends or with the work I do. Although I'm also pretty happy binging Netflix on a Sunday :)
2. Tell us about your favourite moment/s of being a nanny?
I've been with my current family for a year and a half now, and I would have to say this is the most special job I've had. When I started their eldest was 13 Months, he is now 2 and a half AND has a 9 month old brother. I think the bond I've established with him is incredibly special, I've so enjoyed watching his personality grow and through that being able to develop a friendship with the little person that he is.
3. What do you think is most unique about working in home with children?
I'm constantly amazed by the trust my families put in me, it really is such a huge thing to leave your children with someone and I feel very honoured to be in that position. The personal aspect of the job is also really wonderful, through nannying I have forged lifelong relationships, and been there for very special moments of development in children's and families lives.
4. You are currently studying an Honours in "...." (sorry i have forgotten the title of your degree!) at Melbourne University - tell us about your studies and up coming work?
Honours in Performance Studies! (although technically its an Arts degree majoring in English and Theatre Studies. but my thesis is on performance studies). I'm working on a thesis at the moment writing about my experience of going to Hobart's Dark MoFo festival and concurrently directing two shows with my friend and collaborator. One is written by a friend of mine and is about the experiences of young people who are on longterm medication, it's a very clever and beautiful script that I'm so excited about! The other is a devised, mash up of Heiner Muller's HamletMachine, entitled OPHELIAMACHINE. Both these shows will be on during the university's upcoming Art's Festival, MUDfest.
5. You are one creative lady!! What are your thoughts about creativity in the early years? How can you help support this in children? and why do you think children are attracted to creative and dramatic role play? As you study and work in the Dramatic Arts - how do you feel this interacts with your position as a nanny?
I think that allowing and encouraging children to be creative from a very young age gives them a way to express thoughts and feelings that they may not have the vocabulary, or even the cognitive ability to understand. By creating a safe space, be it with paint, drawing, dress ups or playing make believe, where the more rigid rules of society don't matter I've seen children grow and expand their worldview. Even though a two year old is obviously not going to have a hugely expansive worldview anyway, it is still so wonderful to see them open up to more and more possibilities. I've also found elements of performance incredibly helpful when engaging with children about feelings and consequences. By "acting out" as explanation these abstract concepts become much easier to understand.
6. How can we reach you for in home care or creative pursuits?
I'm on Findababysitter.com and can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Image borrowed from Four letter word presents 'The Days In Between' - Directed by Karla
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!