Meet our Trainers: Julia Hilson
How long have you been an AMI Director of Training?
I became a 0-3 AMI Director of Training in November 2014. I have completed 8 Diploma Courses in: Australia (2), Japan (2), UK (2), South Africa (1 – inaugural course) and India (1 – inaugural course) and I am Director of Training on the inaugural 0-3 course in Vietnam starting in May as well as another course in Japan which began early 2021. I have completed Orientation Courses in the following Countries: Australia, New Zealand, The Gambia, Nigeria, United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, India and Vietnam.
Why did you decide to become a trainer?
I was living in the Torres Strait Islands, working with Indigenous families. I realised that if I wanted to bring training to remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, then I would need to become a Trainer and challenge myself to prepare for this role. At the time my plan was to serve these Communities in Australia. I have not been able to do this yet, although I have trained some ladies from these Communities. I have completed training in many different communities around the world and this has helped me to develop as a Trainer. I am hoping to continue my training involvement with more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities in the future.
Aside from delivering the AMI Assistants to Infancy 0-3 Diploma and 0-3 Orientation Certificate courses, what other training do you deliver?
I have only just started to deliver Workshops. I have in the past given talks about my Educateurs sans Frontières work. In 2018, I completed a course with Zero to Three in the USA to become an accredited trainer for their Growing Brain Program. I have presented this course in parts twice now. I took this on so that I could expand my knowledge in Early Brain Development and it has helped enormously.
When not delivering training, what other parts of the trainer role do you get involved with?
I am an active member of the AMI Scientific Pedagogy Group. I attend the AMI 0-3 Trainers International Meetings which are scheduled every 3 weeks. I also attend the monthly Australian/NZ Trainers Meetings.
What do you most enjoy about working as a trainer?
I enjoy creating a safe open learning environment for students. This is when I learn best from the group. I enjoy the questions the students ask. As the course progresses, it is always a beautiful moment to watch as students begin to see the interrelation between different theory topics. By the end of the course, each student makes so many connections – seeing them experience those ‘aha moments’ is priceless.
What are some of the challenges you have faced in being a trainer?
Overcoming my fear of public speaking! It is hard when you are an introvert and yet you are obliged to put yourself out there. I am becoming more comfortable or perhaps I am developing strategies to help myself!
What are you most looking forward to in your training work throughout 2021?
I am looking forward to learning new skills with online training. To be more honest, though, I am looking forward to 2022, when I expect to be able to work face-to-face again. I find it so much more satisfying.
What words of advice can you offer anyone considering studying for an AMI Assistants to Infancy 0-3 Diploma?
If you have a passion to understand human development in the first three years, this is the course for you. There are so many things you can do with this knowledge. Working with children – yes. But one of the most important parts of work at this age is to empower parents and families to understand the critical importance of this time in a baby’s life. Working with parents is very rewarding as this is when we see the biggest impact on the child. On a practical note: to be able to complete the course, you need to be organised and be able to manage your time well.
What words of advice can you offer anyone considering applying for the AMI Training of Trainers program?
It is daunting, but I would highly recommend it to anyone who can cope with being extended. Within the cohort of Trainers of Training that I started with, we have all been pushed and challenged in different ways. The process has been rewarding personally on both a spiritual and intellectual level. I have never felt alone on this journey. I have always had the comradeship of other ToTs, as well as access to support and guidance from more experienced trainers. The highlight for me has been reading Dr. Montessori’s books again and the endless questions that we now get to look at with other Trainers who have different thoughts and understanding. I like to be intellectually stimulated and re-think my own understanding. I have worked hard to remain open, to listen to other points of view! There is still so much to learn. For those of you who have the commitment to take this on, we welcome you. It is certainly inspiring work!