"As a not-for-profit organisation it always has education as the core reason for doing what it does. It is great to have a supportive Head Office, and a large group of fellow teachers to bounce ideas off.”
When Neroli Gardner first started kindergarten teaching, she never saw herself rising through the ranks. Now, with the support of her Kidsfirst colleagues, she’s eight years into her role as Head Teacher.
“When I started out I was lacking in confidence from having time away from the profession,” she says, “But I’ve been so well supported, and Kidsfirst continually offers great professional development. We’re actively encouraged to reflect and grow as teachers.”
Neroli headed into the kindergarten environment immediately after leaving school, working for the South Canterbury Kindergarten Association, before completing her Diploma training at Christchurch Teachers College.
After some relief teaching, and working full-time on a work skills programme for teenagers, Neroli then took time out to have children. All four of her children would go to Kidsfirst Selwyn Street, and Neroli became heavily involved as a parent at the kindy. This would lead to relief teaching for Kidsfirst, before she took a fulltime role at Kidsfirst Sunbeam in 2000.
She loves the tradition that goes with working for Christchurch’s oldest kindergarten.
“It is in the heart of St Albans, and area which is extremely community proud, and it is great to be a central part of that. Our team of five here has a relaxed, fun working environment, though always challenging the learning environment we provide for children to offer the best early childhood education we can.”
And she thoroughly enjoys the high quality education that Kidsfirst Kindergartens provides.
“As a not-for-profit organisation it always has education as the core reason for doing what it does. It is great to have a supportive Head Office, and a large group of fellow teachers to bounce ideas off."
“I enjoy the community feel that you get in working in kindergarten, and also the structure of the organisation and the relationships that are formed with both other teachers and the families we are working with day-to-day. Most of all I enjoy the children.”