We are excited and proud to welcome in our two new Kidsfirst ESMs, Tracey McAllister and Lyndell Turner...
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Tracey moved to North Canterbury in 2010 and brings a stellar academic background and a sound depth of knowledge to her new role as Kidsfirst Education Service Manager (ESM).
“I was born in Taupo, and spent most of my childhood in Patutahi, inland Gisborne. Our primary school was connected to our local marae, and that grounding in those early years has supported my commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi,” says Tracey.
Tracey has a wealth of experience with twenty-seven years in Early Childhood Education. Twelve of those were at the helm of an ECE Centre in Central Auckland, prior to returning to a Grey Lynn kindergarten. As a richly multicultural community, she felt privileged to work alongside Pasifika fono and their children.
Tracey explains, “The kindergarten was awarded the Enviroschools Green Gold Award and this had me pose the question, ‘what happens to the knowledge around sustainability our tamariki drive so competently at kindergarten when they transition to school?’ That was the catalyst to undertake my Masters Thesis with the University of Waikato.”
Tracey is excited about the transition to her Kidsfirst ESM role and is ready to engage in the complexities of this new challenge. She has felt very welcomed and loves that manaakitanga is ‘not just a poster on the wall,’ but feels both ‘meaningful’ and ‘authentic’ throughout our kindergartens.
“I feel privileged to have been selected for the ESM role at Kidsfirst. The past few months have been filled with new learning and connecting with a new team who astound me daily with their knowledge and the incredible, committed kaiako I work alongside in kindergartens.”
Lyndell has dedicated her love of learning to a career in kindergarten that spans over two decades, most recently as Head Teacher at Kidsfirst Redwood (three years), with seven years at Kidsfirst Riccarton prior to that.
Lyndell shares her thoughts, “When you get an award at the Kidsfirst staff meeting stating twenty-five years of service you reflect on how quickly that time has gone…then you decide to challenge yourself and apply to be a relieving ESM for nine months!”
Currently on leave from her Head Teacher position, Lyndell is relishing her new relieving ESM role. She is working collaboratively with another ESM - a new and innovative way of providing Education Services to teams - sharing both a Christchurch and South Canterbury portfolio of kindergartens, for the remainder of 2016.
“I visit Timaru one week out of two as a Senior Teacher for the South Canterbury Association. So this is another exciting opportunity to be a leader and learner (ako) in another context – and with a great view of snowy mountains on my travels,” says Lyndell.
Lyndell recognizes that many of the new challenges she tries to teach and encourage the children and her teaching team to embrace, she is now facing for herself with this new role.
“Quickly you realise that you are in a completely different learning zone and this is what it feels like to be learning new things...scary and exciting all at the same time,” she explains.
“I’m already missing the daily connections and relationships with Kidsfirst Redwood children, teachers and whanau, but as ESM, I’m also absolutely delighted to have the chance to visit each unique and amazing kindergarten space.”
“It’s exciting seeing different environments, and humbling - I’m learning all the time. And I really hope that I’m inspiring and motivating others too.”
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.