Last month Yarra Warra Pre-school had a lot to celebrate. Not only is 2011 the North Warrandyte pre-school’s 20th anniversary, but it is also a milestone for three-year-old teacher, Sue McIntyre, who has dedicated the past 20 years to teaching and inspiring youngsters at the pre-school.
The North Warrandyte and Yarra View pre-schools merged in 1995. There has been a pre-school on the site since the 1960s.
At the pre-school’s annual welcome back barbeque last month, staff and committee members presented Sue with a silver bracelet from Ruby Tuesdaywith the engraved message, “Love from all the Yarra Warra families”.
On the night, Sue also received a large card that past students, families and colleagues had signed, congratulating her on her 20 years at Yarra Warra. The card also contains photos and drawings by the kids.
One parent wrote in Sue’s card, “It was a privilege having you work with my three children.” Past students also wrote messages revealing they wanted to come to kinder “just to spend time with Sue”, while other students had nicknamed her “Smiling Sue”.
“I think it’s indicative of Sue’s impact on young people in our community that when I went around the community collecting signatures for ex-students to sign Sue’s card, they all had something positive to say about her,” pre-school teacher Meegan Hall said. “They all remembered something special about Sue.”
Sue McIntyre, who is also a professional artist, says she loves working with children, and that seeing the smiles on the children’s faces everyday brings her so much joy.
“How many jobs can you go to where you’re greeted by the beautiful smiles of children everyday? I love children and I love being around children. I hardly call it work,” said Sue. “It’s just a dream for me. It wouldn’t be the same without this beautiful team I work with everyday.”
The Yarra Warra Pre-school teachers – Connie, Meegan, Kaye, and Sue – are all best friends and Sue has taught all their children, which is why they say there is an “emotional connection” and the pre-school has “a family environment”.
Sue was teaching at the pre-school when four year old assistant Kaye Versteegan’s daughter attended many years ago.
“My daughter is 22 and Sue is the only teacher from kinder that my daughter can name,” said Kaye. “I can’t imagine anything here without Sue.”
Sue also taught Connie and Meegan’s three year old children when they attended kinder.
“My 21 year old still talks about Sue,” said Meegan.
Colleagues describe Sue as a “creative”, “nurturing” and “sensational” person who has “a natural gift” with children.
Teacher Connie Solty, said working with Sue was “a dream come true” and she admires Sue’s kindness and gentleness.
Sue was teaching at Yarra Warra when the North Warrandyte and Yarra pre-schools joined in 1995 and also when the pre-school burnt down in 2002.
“This year represents 20 years of Sue’s invaluable service and contribution to the Yarra Warra pre-school,” Committee President, Leeanne Nesbitt, said in a speech on the night of the annual barbeque. “Sue on behalf of your fellow colleagues, the committee and all the Yarra Warra families you have touched and contributed to over the last 20 years – we love you, we appreciate you, and we thank you.”
Sue McIntyre told the Diary: “From the bottom of my heart I would like to say a special thank you to all the wonderful children, families, staff and committee members at Yarra Warra. Working with you all over the past 20 years has been the greatest pleasure.”