Not many early childhood educators can say they’ve worked at the same centre for 35 years, let alone have the privilege of caring for two generations of the same family.
But MercyCare’s longest-serving early learning educator Anna Germano just happens to be the exception.
Over the years, Anna has watched many children come through Wembley Early Learning Centre, but thanks to here longevity at MercyCare, she has been given her the opportunity to care for two generations of the same family .
She recalls how she had once cared for two brothers, Richard and Christopher, during their toddler years, only to realise that more than two decades later she was also caring for Richard’s three young children — Thomas, Ashley and Joshua.
“I saw the surname and I thought surely not,” she recalls.
Sure enough, Anna remembered correctly and was overjoyed to be caring for children who hail from the same family more than 20 years later.
Thomas and Ashley have since started primary school, but Anna says she now sees young Joshua at the centre on a regular basis.
“Now little Joshua (pictured with Anna) has started, so I get to look after him now too,” she says.
Asked what she loves most about working at MercyCare, Anna says she appreciates that the core values at the heart of the organisation have remained true over the past 35 years.
“It’s because of the values and the focus has always been on families and giving the best support,” she says.
“A few things may have changed over the years but it’s the core mission of justice and compassion that has stayed the same.
“The centre has always had a good vibe – over the years, we’ve had families say when they stepped in here that they could always sense it was a happy, calming place.”
Aspiring to be an early childhood educator, Anna was just 18 when she began working at MercyCare’s Wembley site in 1985.
Now set to celebrate her 36th year at the organisation, Anna has a long and fond history at Wembley which dates back to her childhood.
Not only did Anna’s mother work in the same building — which was formerly known as the Catherine McAuley Child Day Care Centre — but it was often the place where she and her siblings would spend time during the school holidays.
“Mum worked here during the school holidays and Sister Martin Kelly said to bring us along, because we didn’t have any family to look after us,” Anna explains.
“So we used to come here and play with the other children. So I knew the place well.
Anna is one of 18 educators who have been working at the Wembley site for more than 10 years, which MercyCare Early Learning Manager Rosina Smith said is part of what draws generations of the same families to return to the centre.
“Having longevity of staff like Anna is a rarity in the education and care industry, we value Anna and all our staff for the hard work over the years,” Rosina said.
“They are the key drivers to MercyCare Wembley’s success.”