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Getting to Know… Andrea Christie-David of Leor In Home Early Learning

Lawyer, company director and mum of three Andrea Christie-David has recently established Leor In Home Early Learning, which places qualified, experienced early childhood educators into family homes. Leor educators deliver high-quality, curriculum-based early learning programs to up to three children whilst also meeting the care needs of those children. With the government’s childcare subsidy reforms coming into effect this month, Andrea spotted a gap in the market, tailoring her business for those families that would be worse off under the changes.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve just left my job as a human rights lawyer to focus on my new business full time. I am passionate about access to education, gender equality, social justice, and human rights.
I am a Director of Relationships Australia (NSW), a large not-for-profit organisation delivering counselling, family support, family dispute resolution, and children’s support services across New South Wales.
What did you do prior to establishing your own business?
In my career I have worked as a corporate lawyer, completed an internship at the UN, and most recently was the Chief Operating Officer of a social enterprise law firm, Salvos Legal. In my role at Salvos Legal I was responsible for the delivery of high-quality legal advice to around 150 vulnerable and disadvantaged members of the community each week across three states. I was there for six years, and was part of the leadership that saw the firm grow from nine staff and 100 volunteers in two locations to around 50 staff and over 200 volunteers in four locations.
What inspired you to set up Leor In Home Early Learning?
It was my own experience as a mother of three under the age of four and trying various options for childcare that led me to identify a gap in the market. I saw that not only was there about to be an oversupply of qualified early childhood educators in Sydney, but many families were also going to lose the Child Care Subsidy from July 2018. This meant that those families might be pulling their children out of child care and there needed to be a way of allowing those children to still access high-quality early childhood education outside formal child care.
What services do you offer?
We place qualified and experienced early childhood educators into family homes to deliver high-quality, curriculum-based early learning programs that are tailored to each child’s learning and development needs. We care for up to three children in the family home, and this can be three children from the same family, or two children from one family and one from another family joining together to form a family co-op. The educators also meet all the care needs for each child.
What can families expect from Leor?
We pride ourselves on delivering an outstanding service. This means that each Leor educator has been through a rigorous screening process, is qualified and experienced, and has access to ongoing professional development, mentoring and support. Our educators bring toys and equipment along with them to each session, and ensure that each session is tailored to the individual needs and interests of each child.
Families also receive quarterly learning and development reports that identify how each child is progressing through the curriculum and outline any recommendations that Leor has for third party support or additional programs that could benefit children.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
That’s a tough one because there is so much to love. I have always had a passion for education. My mother used to run her own Montessori preschool, I have a sister-in-law who is a primary school teacher, and I have taught at university for many years. So overall, I love the fact that Leor educators are able to do what they love the most, teach children and see them learn and develop. I love meeting educators who are passionate about making a difference to children’s lives and truly want to work in our small group setting to build relationships with children and their families.
What advice can you offer mums who are thinking of making a career or lifestyle change?
Just do it! If you find something that you are truly passionate about, then make it your life and it will thrive.
Have you ever read a book that has changed your perspective or path in life?
Ummmm … no! I have done so much academic and legal reading over the years that I can’t say I do much reading for ‘fun’.
As a mother yourself, what is the best piece of advice you have to offer new mums?
Read your baby! This means that although your child may not always be able to tell you what they need, your intuition as a mother goes a long way to figuring out what they need. So as long as you can meet your child’s basic needs and show them love, they will be able to conquer the world.
Favourite places in the Inner West?
Frangos. Yum.
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