ECEC Spotlight Series: Akram Eshaghi

Service director Akram Eshaghi began her career as a photographer and designer in Iran. As part of our new ECEC Spotlight Series, we reflect on Akram’s journey and explore the power of learning for both children and their educators.

Akram Eshaghi stands in the middle of an early learning classroom Akram Eshaghi stands in the middle of an early learning classroom
Image: Akram Esaghi is passionate about empowering children and educators to become lifelong learners.

Akram Eshaghi believes the key to the exceptional early childhood education and care at Uniting Airlie Preschool in Oatlands is creating a space for both children and staff to learn, innovate and flourish.

“I love empowering educators,” she shared. “I can share my knowledge, I can guide them, and I can also learn from them.”

Akram emigrated to Australia aged 25 with a background in design and media. Pursuing a career in ECEC began with her desire to have children.

“I first started thinking about studying early childhood education because we wanted to have a child and I panicked! I didn’t know much about the Australian education system,” she reflected.

That apprehension developed into passion when Akram began her career as an educator in a long day care centre in Greater Sydney. That same passion motivates Akram in her work today.

Her dedication and passion saw her progress to the role of service director at Uniting Airlie Preschool in Oatlands, where she has worked for over 5 years.

“What I love most about my role is spending time with the children. I like hearing their thoughts and seeing the world through their eyes.”

Encouraging innovative thinking

At Uniting Airlie Preschool, staff and parents are encouraged to think just as far outside the box as the children are.

“I work to empower my educators and teachers, bringing their strengths, interests and knowledge into the preschool to benefit the children and the community,” explained Akram.

By creating a service culture that praises ideas and innovation from every corner, Akram hopes to encourage lifelong learning for both children and educators.

Connecting cultures through learning

Akram says her experiences and winding career journey helps her to connect with educators and families who have also migrated to Australia. Her preschool offers a safe space for everyone to build their language skills.

“Having that support from someone who understands them is really important, for children and for adults,” she said. “English is not my first language. You can do it if I can.”

Migrant families can suffer from cultural isolation, and it is especially beneficial to involve them in the preschool community says Akram. A group of parents pitched in to help the children and educators build a Bush Tucker Garden. The children came up with ideas of how they wanted it to be, and the parents worked together to design their now thriving garden.

Leading through learning

Akram has completed her Master’s degree and is now undertaking a Master’s of Research in Educational Leadership.

“My studies have helped me think beyond a traditional top-down method of leadership. We embrace more of a flat structure,” she said.

Her advice for anyone looking to progress in an ECEC career is to be open to all learning opportunities that will grow your skills and knowledge. Study pathways, mentoring programs or opportunities to learn from others form a strong foundation to build your career.

This profile was part of our ECEC Spotlight Series, where we shine a light on passionate, excellent ECEC professionals as well as services, programs and initiatives from around NSW. If you have a story, we’d love to hear it! Contact us through this simple nomination form.

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