Each year at our Kidsfirst Kindergartens AGM we celebrate some of our Community Champions.
For decades (in fact, for over a hundred years!) we’ve been grateful for the help of those who have given of their time, skills and resources to help their local kindergarten. Where would we be without it? And 2023 was no different.
There were four worthy recipients who were recognised at the 111th Annual General Meeting.
Heather Anderson moved into the local Bishopdale area last year and lives just around the corner from Isleworth Kindergarten. Being in the same neighbourhood brings so much connection to her and our other champions.
Heather arrived one day on her walking frame and introduced herself and from then on it was all go.
Every Monday she volunteers at the kindergarten and the kaiako and tamariki always look forward to catching up with her.
Our champion has a disability herself and while she often struggles she doesn’t let this stop her one bit.
She’s a great role-model, just gets on with it, and if there is something that needs doing then she’s there to lend a helping hand – whether it’s the end of the term cleaning, fundraising, or exemplifying kindness/manaakitanga. Heather supports the children in their play, always giving positive praise and applauding their successes.
Tamariki see our champion as a special and important person in their lives, and know that she will show them respect and aroha.
Heather at Kidsfirst Isleworth
Megan Wright is an incredibly hard worker who has taken on the role of chief gardener at Kidsfirst Vickery Street.
She comes in on weekends and lovingly tends to the kindy garden; planting new plants, removing weeds, and helping to make the kindergarten look beautiful. She spends time away from her own whānau to enrich the environment for our kaiako and tamariki, showing our youngest learners how to look after their place and be kaitiaki.
The Kidsfirst Vickery Street team say that she has completely transformed their space, and they think she is amazing!
Nik Colley is a huge contributor at Kidsfirst Sumner, having been a parent there for five years.
He is a landscape architect, and as a kindy father regularly spent time with the teaching team listening to their ideas about upgrading the playground. He spent time watching the tamariki to observe how they used the space, and consulted kaiako about what would support learning.
As the playground project progressed, our champion became part of the group who were consulted to ensure the ideas of the whole community were included.
Once funding was secure, this amazing supporter offered his time and expertise to help develop a four-stage landscape and playground plan.
He was active in fundraising for the project, and then organised the removal and disposal of the old playground, which was up-cycled wherever possible… and then dug out the play space and relocated the bark for the local school. This all saved a significant amount of funding which could then be put to other use for the playground.
Nik’s children have now finished their kindy years, but even after they’d left, he came back to help plant, alongside tamariki, some of the 31 native trees gifted by Trees for Canterbury, as well as gifting and planting a large native tree in the midst of the garden himself.
The team at Kidsfirst Sumner say that Nik understands the true value of participating in communities and what it means to give back.
Nik and his daughter planting a seedling at Kidsfirst Sumner.
Lorraine Gibbs has been an integral part of Kidsfirst Niu since the end of 2020.
She first contacted the kindergarten to donate some scrapbooks for the tamariki and has been a part of kindy life ever since – coming to kindergarten every week to begin with, and now regularly twice a week.
Tamariki greet her with excitement as she pulls into the carpark. There are shouts of “Nana’s here” as they race to meet her at the gate.
This champion is a calm presence for the tamariki and spends her time working one-on-one with them or in small groups. She listens intently to what they are saying and extends on their ideas. A regular presence at all of the kindy’s celebrations, the tamariki love having a grandmother figure around who is kind, patient and caring.
The whole Kidsfirst Niu community appreciate and cherish the time that ‘Nana Lorraine’ has given to their kindergarten.
Lorraine is a friendly face, and tamariki love spending time with her.
Kia ora, and thank you for all of your hard work, generosity and the inspiration you give us all.
Every year Kidsfirst Kindergartens celebrate the individuals, kindergartens and teaching teams who have showcased our values in their mahi, with their generosity, hard work and enthusiasm for what we stand for and believe in.