Family day care educator gets region’s top honour supporting boy through traumatic period

Campbell WilliamsonNarrogin Observer
Cassandra Duckworth with Xavier Skehan-Howell, 23 months.
Camera IconCassandra Duckworth with Xavier Skehan-Howell, 23 months.

Winning the top honour for the Wheatbelt region in the Excellence in Family Day Care Awards, a carer and educator has been recognised for supporting a young boy while his father battled cancer.

Recognising the work and achievements of 12,000 family day care educators, the awards celebrate incredible early childhood education and care.

Cassandra Duckworth has worked as a family day care educator for seven years, serving with Willi Wagtails Family Day Care service near Williams for the past two years.

As one of 69 regional educator winners, she said the win probably came from her work caring for Xavier Skehan-Howell, whose father recently died.

“I have five kids of my own, so I’m a very motherly person. I like spending time with kids,” she said.

“One of the things I wrote about was a recent experience I had this year with one of my daycare families after a father died from cancer.”

Ms Duckworth said during her time caring for Xavier, the family wanted things to remain as normal as possible, which she tried to honour by caring for him as she always had.

“His mum wanted everything to stay the same ... we wanted consistency for him so his life could continue as normally as possible while they were going through this hugely traumatic event,” she said.

“I just continued the same amount of care that I always had for him.

“I tried not to get too emotional around him and attended the fun-eral and things like that.

“The little boy’s been amazing. He’s too young to really understand what’s happening, which is heartbreaking.

“I feel really honoured.

“I never expected to go through something like that with them, but I've become so close with them.”

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