After a long walk to her home, one is welcomed with the vivid murals of cartoon characters painted on her front wall. As you walk in, one is basked in a warm feeling of reassurance and comfort. It’s a long way from the main district facilities but this is of Linda Auguste’s advantage.
In the past, Linda Auguste worked in the Tourism industry, she soon realised that this was not really what she wanted as a career and since childminding was in mind for some time she jumped to the opportunity.
“I started because I saw that this service is essential in my community. I would see parents going to work early morning with little babies with a feeding bottle in the mouth; it broke my heart. The desire was there for years but this helped me put it to reality,” says Auguste.
She recalls that during her teenage years she would help her mother who was also a Childminder.
“My mother would also bake cakes, so during that time I would take care of the kids. All my school vacations were spent helping her. I enjoyed it! Watching her do what she did, not only gave me the interest to care for kids but even my sister,” she reminisces with a smile.
She started at her sister’s day-care 25 years ago. The day-care was called Early Childhood Development Centre situated at Anse Royale, a district in the south of Mahe. Since her sister had studied early childhood, Linda learnt a lot from her.
“When she left the country, I decided to start my own. Now it’s been more than 18 years since I’ve been doing it at my home,” she says.
Auguste believes in knowing every child and following their development closely.
“I don’t just guard the kids but I do a lot of activities with them. I do lots of activities that can improve their speaking, motor and intellectual skills. If I pick up a delay in any aspect of their development, I approach the parents calmly to let them know,” she explains.
Linda Auguste’s working days are never a routine. She combines in-door activities with field visits, sessions at the sea side where they observe what is around them and apply some of the academic things they are learning like colours and numbers.
She registered with IECD in August last year and believes that the Institute has a vital role to play in early childhood development. Despite wanting to rest on Saturdays she is faithful to her occasional training and professional development sessions.
“It’s a good thing. For a long time, we needed an institute that could put some standards in the way child care is done. I had the advantage of learning a bit from my sister but adding what IECD offers to my knowledge is great. We should never neglect our role of helping in child development,” she affirms.
Linda Auguste’s child minding service is one of the few that provides breakfast in her package. She says even though healthy food is quite expensive, she provides them with fruits, Weetabix, cereals and other healthy snacks.
“Some parents like this healthy approach and they do the same at home,” Auguste confirms.
After devoting 25 years, Auguste still believes she has a few more years to give.
“My community still needs me and my love for children is still very strong. I can hear them inside the house even though I am on leave. It’s a good job, you are the one in control, it allows you to have more time to take care of the house and keep an eye on my own children,” she says.