30 years of teaching celebrated

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CHILDREN and staff at the Surrey Park Early Learning Centre (SPELC) celebrated the centre’s 30th anniversary last week.
What started out as a childcare centre with three teachers and eight to 10 children has now grown to astaff of 35 teachers plus support staff and a roll of 200.
Cook Rose Harvey, one of the original staff members, said one of the most noticeable changes she had seen was the increasing number of childcare centres in Invercargill, as there were only two others when SPELC opened, at the YMCA and James Hargest High School.
The reason she stayed so long?
‘‘I have met some fantastic people… It is like a family.’’
The centre was opened by a group of Invercargill relieving teachers as a place where their children could be cared for while they worked.
Spaces were still left available for relieving teachers, but the centre was now also open to the community and the children of Murihiku Young Parents Learning Centre students, she said.
The centre has a notable list of long-term staff members, including four who have worked there for more than 20 years and several who have worked there for 15 years.
Head teacher Barbara Carson, who has been on the staff for more than 20 years, said the number of long-term employees was a good indication of how happy the staff were.
‘‘We have still retained afamilyfeel despite increasing in size. It is about the children and what’s best for them — that is why I stayed here.’’

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