Kay Ishak

NACD Australia/New Zealand Coach - M.S./MBA Psychology

I discovered NACD in 2011 when I was exploring how to help my three boys love to learn. I knew school just wasn’t cutting it for them, especially one of the twins. He would always be away somewhere and would spark up when something became of interest. I could get some things from him, but then other times he just wasn’t interested. The fluctuations in his schoolwork and his brothers’ concerned me. I asked the school to test my boys, so they did. The IQ test showed great results; however, this didn’t reflect in their schoolwork. It was like they were in parallel schools, with two different results. I hated the idea of “tutoring” my children, but I needed to do something. Several tutors later, there was a little bit of improvement, but not enough for me to continue to torture them. It was a battle to get them to do anything; they weren’t motivated; and they hated learning. I had done the exact opposite of what I set out to do.

I was about to pursue my clinical work in my Psychology degree and was reading about brain plasticity and how the brain’s neural pathways can be built and grow continually. It interested me and I wanted to know more. At this stage I scoured the Internet, searching for people’s experiences with tutors for children. I found one mum, with one line that said, “Before you look into anything for your child, you must look into NACD. They will know your child from the top down.” I went onto their website and it all came together. I haven’t looked back since.

Background Education

I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Welfare Studies, with a minor in Psychology.
Graduate Diploma in Psychology
MBA

Background Work

I worked initially with young people from culturally diverse backgrounds in community centres across Sydney. Their issues ranged from schooling, abuse, learning difficulties, and language barriers. There was complex casework with referrals and counselling, All the work was difficult but rewarding when the solutions worked. However, all the solutions were just “bandaids,” and I could see that these kids just needed a whole lot more help, as the issues were endless.

Next I worked in local and state government in policy development, networking with communities all working toward the same goal. The work involved a lot of written submissions for funding and policy change in areas of early childhood to aged care and disability services. I experienced many rejections, funding cuts, and the same thing going around in circles. I networked with schools and the wider community for a range of services and target groups. I always had a passion to open my own business in childcare so I could work in early intervention with young children, especially those labelled ADD and ADHD and autistic. But it just wasn’t time.

Whilst studying for my MBA, I worked with department store David Jones in their buying office as a financial planner, with a big budget, fabulous products, and great atmosphere. Then I fell pregnant with our first child. It was time to put the plan of action in place and finally open our own business.

We opened Alphabeta in 2003, and the organisation has grown from one long day care centre to a consulting firm and 12 before and after school care services and growing. I then started to think of adding value to the service, looking at tutoring possibilities for children with extra learning needs, including music, activities, and sporting activities in the aftercare program. There wasn’t anything out there that fit what we were looking for. We hired allied health professionals to help out where funding fell short, but needed guidance for a program that could suit almost anyone. It was at this time I discovered NACD for my children and decided I had to know more and do more. I contacted Sara and then eventually spoke with Bob, and my journey led me to Ogden, Utah for training with NACD.

In 2011 I came together with another mum and decided that the focus had shifted from just being before and after school care to becoming more about enriching a child’s life. We established the Child Enrichment and Development Association so we could reach out to families who needed a lot more help. This is a registered charity and not for profit organisation aiming to work with these families of children who are “labelled,” using amongst other things the toolbox from NACD.