Onehunga Kindergarten say a fond farewell to head teacher2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
When she became head teacher at Onehunga Kindergarten 17 years ago, it was a homecoming of sorts for Bev Douglas, having sent her own children there. It was also a place where she’d always wanted to work.
She is now saying farewell to her dream job and looking forward to retirement, proud of shaping the Kindergarten into a strong educational space and an integral part of the local community, with a strong whānau network.
Bev moved into early childhood teaching after her own children started school, and worked in South Auckland and Mt Eden before getting the call that her ideal, local job was available at Onehunga.
“Working with children is the core part of the job and children are always a source of delight. At this age they’re really fresh and open to the things you feel you can share with them. They’re looking for new ideas, they’re curious, and it’s also a big step for them and can present some challenges. I like this age group, it’s special, getting them ready for that next step.”
She has seen the Kindergarten evolve alongside the area’s demographic changes, led it through the proposed national review in 2017, and guided it successfully through the lockdowns of 2020 – all helped by a stable staff around her.
When she joined the Kindy, Bev had a mission to build it into a top quality, local educational option, and to form a strong relationship with parents, whānau and the wider community.
“The key was getting community involved. I felt that part of the success of the Kindy for the children’s sake and for the community, children have to see parents buying in to what we’re doing, they’ve got to be involved, we’ve got to be working in partnership.”
“I have worked quite hard with the community to set up systems so parents could be involved.”
This includes an active parents’ group, parent help with weekly baking, the lending library, or at one-off events like the annual Trike-a-thon, which raised $4000 earlier this year for playground upgrades.
“It’s also not just the money – parents have owned the place, have been involved, that’s what has been just delightful about working here, feeling that I’m able to support that and helped make that happen in some way. I will miss that.”
(Bev Douglas is sad to be leaving her dream job)