Hanna Salonen, Daycare Centre Manager, watches children play in the snow from the window of her office while she reminisces about the twists and turns of her career of almost 10 years.
As early childhood education and care had been a vocation for Hanna since she was a child, her graduation as a Bachelor of Social Science in 2010 was no coincidence. Pilke Daycare Centre’s job advertisement that described, among other things, the company’s values aroused her interest, and she ended up starting her career as an early childhood teacher in Espoo.
“Already after six months, I was requested to take up the position of Deputy Manager at Daycare Centre Hiirulainen, and I started taking care of administrative matters alongside the rest of my duties. After I moved to Kerava, Pilke offered me work at Daycare Centre Käpälämäki in Vantaa where I acted as Senior Early Childhood Teacher and managed the small unit’s administration. In 2014, I was appointed as Daycare Centre Manager,” Hanna recounts.
When Hanna’s spouse found employment in Tampere, Hanna applied for a new position in the region. It was not long until she was provided with a chance to realise one of her professional dreams and participate in establishing Pilke’s music-oriented unit Nuottisilta in Tampere.
Back home to close the circle
Hanna explains how she used to joke that as soon as Pilke would expand to Lapland, she would move back home too. After the birth of Hanna’s second child, the family started to find attractive the idea of moving back to Tornio, close to their social networks. As it turned out, plans for a Pilke daycare centre in Tornio were already underway, and the dream that had started from a laugh become reality. As a result, Hanna has managed two daycare centres since 2019: the music-oriented daycare centre Huvikumpu in Tornio and the nature-oriented daycare centre Virta in Keminmaa, the latter of whose establishment Hanna got to participate in.
“I’m more than satisfied by how the circle came to a close and how my round trip in various Pilke units led me back home to Tornio. With regard to fulfilling my professional ambitions, I’m grateful for the opportunities I have been provided with as well as for the trust placed on me. Right now, I’m happy where I am. In the future, however, I’d like to increase my professional expertise through further studies,” Hanna states.
A fitting employer with matching values
Similarly to Pilke, one of Hanna’s primary values is optimism. It is the value that Hanna believes has brought her where she is now. According to Hanna, her success is a result of both her own and Pilke’s optimistic attitude.
“What I appreciate in particular is Pilke’s low organisational hierarchy that enables smooth communication with experts. It has always been easy to ask and receive help, and every employee has the opportunity to influence their work. I’m particularly thankful for being able to express myself and perform meaningful work. My strengths have been taken into account and I have been asked to participate in various development projects and work groups.”
Hanna’s typical workday starts by wishing good morning to all the children and adults at the daycare centre. She enjoys her breakfast with the daycare group, after which it is time to immerse herself in office work. By the computer, Hanna plans work shifts and replies to parents’ inquiries about daycare places. Daycare Centre Manager’s responsibilities also include cooperation with the municipality with regard to daycare places as well as the pedagogical management of the unit.
Versatile and rewarding work as Daycare Centre Manager
“As early childhood education teacher, the children were the best part of my job! In my current position, the most attractive aspect is the versatility of my duties. Even though I manage administrative tasks, I don’t consider my work monotonous – the children are always just a few steps away. I enjoy working with different kinds of people and being able to support others. It’s magnificent to be able to participate in the development of early childhood education and care.”
Hanna names her appointment as Daycare Centre Manager the highlight of her career as she had dreamed of it already during her studies. Her career has progressed faster than she could have ever imagined.
According to Hanna, her greatest challenge is the limited amount of time at her disposal: when managing two daycare centres, she has little time for participating in the units’ everyday operation.
“Every now and then I feel inadequate as I’d like to spend more time with the children and see the groups’ operation. Most of my working time is consumed by operational, human resources and customer relationship management as well as financial responsibilities,” Hanna explains.
“The most important task of the daycare centre is to provide each child with a good day – every day.”
According to Hanna, a child’s good day consists of various aspects. In addition to healthy food, safety and warm hugs, each child needs to receive pleasant learning experiences through play and other everyday activities. It is important for the daycare personnel to know how to seize the right moments and provide the children with diverse activities in accordance with their interests.