After 28 years with Ōtaki Kindergarten, Sue Barrett retired on July 31, farewelled the night before with a packed house of tamariki, whānau, parents and colleagues.
Ostensibly to celebrate Matariki, the function focused – to her dismay – on Sue’s remarkable achievements in her time at the kindergarten, much of it as head teacher.
Fellow teacher Linda Milne said Sue’s influence had been immeasurable and unique”.
“Sue has inspired many student teahers and kaiako who have worked alongside her,” Linda said. “Her influence goes beyond this kindergarten and beyond to the Ōtaki community. Her views have been recognised nationally by early childhood leaders. Her insights have travelled – in print and video – into kindergartens all over Aotearoa.”
Sue said she had been well paid for her mahi – not just in dollar terms but most importantly in the delight of seeing the tamariki grow and “by being alongside our younger learners and hanging out with grown-ups who also know the value of creating and supporting learning environments that enhance the mana of all”.
“Community is what it’s about, the many ways we influence and are influenced by others – it’s about the imaginings, the what-ifs
. . . the changing of pace and approach, but not direction.”