Cathy Kaplun

My journey into has been on a winding country lane rather than a freeway. Initially I worked as a therapy radiographer in some of Sydney’s major hospitals. I enjoyed the teamwork and contributing to the healing process for many patients, and also the rewards and emotional demands of palliative care, with all the additional care, understanding and support for patients and their families that this required.

I left when my son was born and became fascinated with the rapid learning and development that takes place in early childhood.  The arrival of twin girls a short time later saw me extremely busy, but somehow, I found the time to start a playgroup for multiple birth families. I then followed a friend into an Early Childhood Education course, shifting a year later to a distance learning program at Macquarie University. My studies were put on hold by the birth of my fourth child, another boy.  However, before life descended into a round of nappies and night feeds, I received an unexpected offer to work as a teacher’s aide at the local school, thanks to the many hours I had enjoyed volunteering in the classroom, reading with and supporting children there.  I started in February, juggling three young children and a new baby. There were some initial challenges but everything fell into place, as it always does, despite my worrying.

My career then took another twist: an unexpected return to study in a condensed course Certificate III (Special Education) program for teacher’s aides. A chance meeting towards the end of this course with a lecturer from Macquarie University inspired me to return to university to complete my degree. The experience of participating in a group research project the following year ignited my passion for research. I became fascinated by the process of transition to school, particularly for children experiencing difficulties. In my honours thesis I documented the experiences of a child with language impairment in the transition from Kindergarten to Year One.