21 December, 2022 | Posted by Natasha Murphy

Natasha Murphy's Early Years in Australia: First Christmas Down Under!

Early Years in Australia with Natasha Murphy

As I prepare for my first Christmas away from home, I begin to reflect on how this Christmas will be a very new experience for me.

My idea of Christmas is cold, frosty weather, snuggling up by the fire, and watching movies in my fluffy pyjamas. Coming downstairs on Christmas morning smelling the turkey and ham cooking in the oven and then coming together with family to enjoy a gorgeous home-cooked meal!

This year will be very different - the biggest change for me will be celebrating Christmas in the summertime with 40-degree heat coming from the sun. The majority of people here in Australia get up early, go to the beach, have a swim and enjoy a nice BBQ while wearing Christmas t-shirts instead of Christmas jumpers!

Children in Kindy (preschool) talk about how excited they are for their summer holidays, where they will celebrate Christmas and also prepare for their first year attending primary school starting in February.

For their Christmas dinner, some said they will be having chicken, others said turkey and ham, while the rest were all excited about their BBQ. The majority are spending Christmas in their home, but others are travelling to see family members so they can all be together.

For me, it doesn’t feel like Christmas yet, but I’m sure on Christmas morning it will. It is still a bit surreal driving along the beachfront and seeing houses decorated with Christmas lights! Or the other evening, I went to watch the film Love Actually in an outdoor cinema with my picnic blanket, some pillows and snacks! A bit different to last year, watching the same film with some hot chocolate, fluffy socks, and snuggled up in a warm blanket.

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However, in saying that, I’m very excited to begin to make some new traditions this year.

My plan is to have a turkey and ham dinner, with roasted and mashed potatoes (my favourite), go for a sea swim, relax on the beach, facetime my family and just live in the moment!

Natasha Murphy's Early Years in Australia

Natasha took the leap and moved to Australia in search of sun, adventure and to develop her career as an early years practitioner.

Natasha went, armed with her early childhood studies qualifications from level 6 to her level 9 MA which she gained at Portobello Institute, experience in tutoring adults and as a manager of a Montessori school.

This put her in a prime position to not only secure a job when she arrived but the job that she really wanted. 

"Travelling has always been on my bucket list, I didn't know if it was always going to be achievable but I didn't mind where it was, whether it was to go interrailing, backpacking or moving to a different country for a year. I just thought, let's go somewhere and explore the world.

"Until the harsh reality hit and I realised that you need to have money and probably a qualification because at the end of the day, even if you're going to work abroad or you're going to work in Ireland, all employers and workplaces are looking for the same things: experience, your personality and a piece of paper.

"So, I did a level 6 in Early Childhood Care and Education at Portobello Institute and I enrolled for my BA Ord in Early Childhood Studies. While I was doing that I decided to study through blended learning and get a job at the same time. I thought to myself if I can study and work at the same time this is going to help me achieve my dreams quicker. 

"I was gaining experience and able to save and put money away towards travelling. I did my BA (Hons) and within a couple of months of submitting my thesis I enrolled on the MA in Early Childhood Studies, something I never thought was possible but has now grounded me into the Early Years Practitioner I am today and will definitely set me aside from anyone else going for a job now when I move to Australia."

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About the Author

Natasha Murphy - MA Early Childhood Studies Graduate from Portobello Institute

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I come from a family of early years practitioners, Montessori teachers and secondary school teachers, so I have always had a passion for working with children. As I was growing up, I realised the importance of early childhood care and education, it is the first insight into learning for a child and that is how I decided to become an early years practitioner. I want to be part of each child’s early learning journey and support them to grow and learn in a fun and meaningful way.

While studying, I gained an interest in transitions. I implemented home visits prior to a child starting in my setting. I arranged an hour-long home visit with each child and their family. This helped me to build a respectful and reciprocal relationship with the child and family, which eased the settling-in process.

I was invited to travel to Sweden to talk about transitions with Early Childhood Ireland in March 2020, but due to COVID-19, it was cancelled. I have spent a summer in Spain teaching children aged 4-15 years old, and I travelled to Pune in India with Portobello Institute to volunteer in a number of orphanages and outreach community centres.

Working as an early years practitioner has allowed me to link theory to practice when giving a lecture. This has been very beneficial to students as they can relate and begin to see how their learning can be linked to their own settings too. As I completed my own studies through blended learning, I can understand how students feel trying to balance, work, home and study life.

Did You Know?

At Portobello Institute, we help you to follow your passion and fulfil your potential to achieve the career you want.

We have a range of courses commencing in Spring 2023 that will further your knowledge and career in the early years sector.

  •  BA (Ord) Early Childhood Studies commences 7th February, information available here 
  •  BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies commences 8th March, information available here
  • BA (Hons) Inclusive Education Practice commences 7th February, information available here
  • MA Early Childhood Studies, commences 11th February, information available here
  • MA Inclusive Education & SEND, commences 11th February, information available here 

We also offer a comprehensive range of QQI level 5 and 6 early years and Montessori courses. You can find out more by visiting the department page here.

If you are interested in any of our early years and Montessori courses or have any questions you can book a consultation call with our expert advisor Jennifer Matteazzi here, email jennifer.matteazzi@portobelloinstitute.com or call 01 892 0031. 

Read More: Considering Inclusion of all Children at Christmas in the Early Years Setting

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