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 Five years on, this former kindergarten parent turned Kidsfirst teacher is still very happy with her decision... she came to kindergarten and stayed. 

 

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It only feels like yesterday that current Kidsfirst South Brighton Teacher, Jo Knudsen, was waving goodbye to her own (now adult) children as she dropped them off at Hillmorton kindergarten. 

 

Her positive experiences while a kindergarten parent ended up influencing Jo’s life and career choices when, after showing an interest and training, Jo became a relieving teacher with Kidsfirst Kindergartens.

 

“I can clearly remember the day parent and committee member Jo Knudsen came to me asking about early childhood teaching,” says former Kidsfirst Hillmorton Head Teacher, Margaret McCormick.

 

“I just spoke from the heart, and shared my passion for being a kindergarten teacher, and all that it means to me. Jo said she felt a real excitement in her, and I told her to go with that feeling.”

 

And so the seeds were planted, that would see mother-of-two Jo on a journey from a kindy parent and committee member, to early childhood student, and now a reliever for Kidsfirst.

 

“I’d started doing primary teacher training,” Jo says, “But it wasn’t in my heart. And after my chat with Margaret, I stood in Hillmorton kindy, and I knew it was where I wanted to be.”

 

So she changed her course of study to an Early Childhood Degree, and simply loved the learning. “Children are so fascinating. To make sense of their world there is so much to know, and Kidsfirst do it so well.”

 

“Every team I’ve worked with as a reliever at Kidsfirst have been so professional. It’s been so nice to be part of providing a safe, caring, consistent environment for children in the years following the Christchurch earthquakes too.”

 

During the time that Jo was training, Margaret and the team at Kidsfirst Hillmorton loved watching Jo develop, particularly during her time at Hillmorton as a student teacher, and then as she moved through the Kidsfirst family.

 

“It was exciting and a privilege to support Jo on her journey,” Margaret says, “She was a committed student, and her enthusiasm for learning shone through. 

 

“She understood things from a parent’s perspective, and through being so involved in the committee had real insight into the organisation.”

 

Five years on, Jo is still very happy with her decision and absolutely loves being a kindergarten teacher. “It’s fantastic to be part of a team who all work collaboratively and I relish working for Kidsfirst Kindergartens.”

 

“I really enjoy building relationships with children and seeing their growth over time. And I love helping parents and seeing them on their kindergarten journey too.”

 

“Working for Kidsfirst has allowed me to be either a day to day, short term or long term reliever, a flexibility which really suits me so as to be able to meet my family needs, be a part of my (now four) grandchildren’s lives and continue my study.”

 

Over on the West Coast, Head Teacher, Tim Eden-Calcott, was excited to tell us two parents at Kidsfirst Karoro – one a mum and one a dad – are looking into training in early childhood education after their very positive experience with their own children’s learning at kindergarten.

 

What would Jo say to this?

 

“I’d really support parents to do it, it’s a wonderful career, where you can learn so much about child education and development, all in a very well-supported organisation.”

 

 

 

KIDSFIRST KINDERGARTENS ARE A NOT FOR PROFIT ASSOCIATION THAT HAS DEVELOPED AND MAINTAINED KINDERGARTENS IN CHRISTCHURCH, CANTERBURY AND ON THE WEST COAST FOR OVER 100 YEARS - AS THE PLACE LOCAL KIDS COME TO LEARN, PLAY AND HAVE FUN.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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