I am a mother of 3 beautiful and unique children, but not just a mum, I have worked and studied in the disability, hospitality and education sector over my career. I have a child diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. Raising a child on the spectrum certainly has it challenges and as a mum I feel my main role is to assist her understanding of experiences out there. I feel that play and recreation can assist this process and support her mentally by trying out things that usually make her anxious or scared. It is so encouraging to see and experience acceptance and inclusion in the community, but I still think we can do more to really take it to the next level, thus Specky Stars!
Early in my career, I progressed quickly to supervising restaurants and then later TAFE teaching. After taking a break to have more children, we moved to Seaford just after my son was born. After moving, I had to look for ways to find connect with other mums and bubs. I joined the MOPS group in the Frankston North Presbyterian and was quickly introduced with the HIPPY program in Frankston North.
Hippy is a 2 year school readiness program funded by the federal government and it was here that I found my tribe, all the women and staff were fantastic! During my time as a HIPPY parent an opportunity arose when there was an opportunity to facilitate a playgroup in the Community Centre arose. My heart skipped a beat! This was for me. I had always wanted to do this and to facilitate a space based on welcoming, inclusiveness and finding true joy in our children
So after a couple of years of facilitating this I progressed to the role of HIPPY tutor and worked for the Brotherhood of St Laurence. During this time, I had little tasters in different career areas and thought about where I wanted to take the next steps in my career. After HIPPY I went on to study a Cert IV in disability/Leisure & Health, the worked as an independent support worker.
During this time I stumbled on The Pop up Adventure Playwork Course. Reflecting on my experience in working as a disability support coach and having a child on the spectrum, I identified a need for play and how play is the language of processing problems and issues that arise in a child's life.
My dream of Specky Stars has been evolving and shaping over the years as I am a perfectionist and research everything thoroughly so I am sure I have it just right. During this journey I have found my mentors and aspirants in the playwork field, some of my heroes are Lady Allen of Hurtwood, a pioneer of Playwork for children with a disability, Marc Armitage along with Morgan Leichter-Saxby and Suzanna Law, Prof Fraser Brown just to name a few.
The people that I have met in the Playwork field are very supportive, encouraging, passionate and believe in the transformative essence of Play and the importance of Playwork. Personally, I would like to thank Cam Lee from Green Hat Workshop who has assisted and encouraged me to get started in this business venture.
The concept of Playwork is to facilitate child-led play through affording space, materials and time to allow children create anything they desire. When I think of Playwork it feels so wholesome and liberating and absolutely essentially "good" in our daily lives.
Thanks for reading, I look forward to meeting you on your play journey. x Sherrie