"I love the start we give to children - lifelong, and life changing. And I love having the opportunity to make a difference not just to the children, but families and communities. It makes me proud to hold my head up and say that I am a kindergarten teacher.”
Lisa Foraker has had some incredible adventures travelling and working around the world – even in Antarctica – but the highlight of Lisa Foraker’s life has been graduating with her Bachelor of Teaching and Learning.
“I had loads of life experience, but I had left school at 15, so I never dreamed I’d go to University,” she says, “Going to lectures for the first time in my late thirties was quite scary. I still remember being really nervous on my first day. But getting my degree, at the age of 40, was the best moment of my life. It was wonderful for my children to see me achieve something I’d worked hard for, and knowing they can follow in my footsteps and do whatever they want to do.”
Having her first child would be the catalyst for Lisa heading down the early childhood education path. After seeing him at Montessori, she became interested in children’s learning. Then, when he headed off to kindy, she got heavily involved in the kindergarten community. And it was at Montessori with her second child that someone suggested she should become a teacher. So she bit the bullet and headed off to University as an ‘adult student’.
Then she started working at Kidsfirst, working at several kindergartens around Christchurch before coming to Selwyn Street in 2010. Lisa says the teachers are what make Kidsfirst special. “I’ve made some wonderful friendships that will be with me forever. It’s such a caring environment. And of course there are the children, I have an absolute passion for children and their learning and development.
“I love the start we give to children - lifelong, and life changing. And I love having the opportunity to make a difference not just to the children, but families and communities. It makes me proud to hold my head up and say that I am a kindergarten teacher.”
And the children have benefitted from Lisa’s fascinating adventures around the globe – including Australia, Europe, Asia, America, and her time spent working at the American Naval Base in Antarctica, on its MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) programme, keeping people busy with events and activities.
“It’s been great to share all my life experiences with the children, showing them the clothes I used to wear down on the ice, and getting well looked after on our trips to The Antarctic Centre through some friends I have there.”
These days, she’s more than happy to be home in New Zealand, and part of the Kidsfirst Selwyn community – which she describes as “awesome”.
“The families are supportive and understanding, and the children are just gorgeous. We have a great mix of teachers here, male and female, younger and some who’ve been around a bit longer. I just love being part of it all.”