When Miranda Borlini was in Year 10, her teacher was not optimistic about her future prospects. Struggling with the loss of her father at an early age, she had become directionless.
Miranda says that at the time, she was only really attending school to socialise. Education didn't feel important to her. But now, things are different.
Today, Miranda, now known as Miranda Edwards, is an acknowledged leader in Aboriginal early years education. Her CV is extensive, including:
- chairing the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Goulburn Valley Region
- managing a childcare centre
- running her own Aboriginal educational curriculum consultancy
- speaking at local, national and international conferences on early childhood education.
Miranda's career in childcare and early childhood education began when she moved to Shepparton in northern Victoria. A former secondary school teacher from Perth, she found it hard to adapt to teaching in a new environment.
Instead, she took up an administrative role at the all-Indigenous Lulla's Children and Family Centre. Six months later, she took the role of Director. With new responsibilities, Miranda enrolled herself and Lulla's staff at TAFE to obtain formal qualifications.
'Undertaking the Diploma of Early Childhood at GO TAFE together was a great opportunity for everyone to upskill at the same time. It also empowered, supported and helped bond the team. It was integral to ensuring we were able to provide the highest quality early learning and educational and care programs,' says Miranda.
The qualifications led to a high standard of excellence at Lulla's. The Centre is always at full capacity, enjoying widespread support in the Shepparton community and beyond.
In further recognition of her efforts, the Board of Lulla's, supported by GO TAFE, nominated Miranda for the 2014 Victorian Training Awards (VTA). Miranda subsequently won the Koorie Student of the Year Award.
I was completely shocked to win the VTA, knowing the calibre of the other finalists I was up against. It was a great experience and wonderful to feel the community's pride in what I had achieved.
For Miranda, the award opened up 'great opportunities'.
'It got me noticed and it's a big part of my story which I share when I speak at conferences,' said Miranda. 'It also provided the foundation, through the prize money I received, to develop my consultancy business with my husband Clint.'
Miranda attributes the training that came with the award for enabling her to muster the confidence to speak at prestigious forums in the presence of Ministers, government department Secretaries, CEOs and early childhood experts.
I've done some big talks, including when I spoke in front of 1,000 people at the World Indigenous People's Conference in Canada 2017 to talk about local Indigenous curriculum for schools. The training I received as part of the award was a huge help in this regard.
The award also inspired Miranda to undertake further study. Keen to take the next step in a field she has 'fallen in love with', Miranda completed a Bachelor of Education in Kindergarten and Primary School Teaching in 2018.
'I just feel so lucky to be in a position where I can make a difference – and the early years are the key,' said Miranda.
If we can start children off on the right track their futures will be better. It's not too big a stretch to say that we're helping to change the lives of families and communities – and that's why I love coming to work every day.
Reviewed 07 September 2021