The February 22nd quake destroyed the building of Kidsfirst Bassett Street, where Victoria had been teaching for just over a year. Nearby, Kidsfirst Woolley Street became the new home for Victoria, her colleagues and majority of the children. She concedes they were extremely stressful and un-nerving times – but the unrelenting support of her colleagues and wider Kidsfirst family has made all the difference for her.
“The association was very supportive towards us as a team as well as the families/whanau in our community.” Victoria says, “They did everything they could to answer all questions raised, and it was a huge support knowing they were doing all they could to help us get back on our feet and get back to doing what we know and love – working with children.”
It’s often said that Kidsfirst Woolley Street has become an ‘oasis’ for families - an escape from the quake turmoil and destruction in the community. Victoria says the teaching team has achieved this through the support of each other and the passion and drive to provide an environment for children to have a sense of normality in the mist of destruction.
“It’s my passion to work with children and help provide them with as many opportunities to explore and discover the world around them. Kidsfirst’s philosophy supports this and during that time it was very evident that the children came first.
“Kidsfirst did all they could to continue to provide safe environments for children to receive quality care, and the chance to explore and learn with their peers. Seeing the smiles on the faces of children enjoying their familiar, calm environment allowed me to forget the craziness of the world outside our gates.”
Victoria hasn’t looked back since becoming a member of the Kidsfirst family after graduation. From the very beginning, she says she felt settled and confident, thanks to the backing of her team members and head office.
“As a beginning, registering, teacher we had regular meetings arranged by Head Office and opportunities for professional development. There was also our Professional Leader who I could direct questions to and gain extra support from if needed. All the teams I have worked with in Kidsfirst have all supported me and allowed me to grow and express my passion for teaching.”
Victoria has big plans for her future, and Kidsfirst is very much a part of that.
“I would like to become a head teacher and because of the support from colleagues and Kidsfirst I am able to gain the skills and knowledge to do so at my own pace. I definitely know I’ll continue to get the support I need to achieve this and more, which is nice to know my goals are appreciated. In good times and bad, Kidsfirst is a nurturing and caring place to work – to me I feel like we are one large community full of support and dedication to the future of our children.”