As January draws to a close, educator Zelma Taylor will have welcomed children through the doors of Winifred Nance Kindergarten for 36 years.
Over the years she has had a big influence on thousands of children who have passed through the kindergarten.
Zelma has taught generations of the same family and observed many changes in the early childhood sector such as the introduction of the National Quality Framework, the transition from volunteer committee run service to Early Years Management operated and recent reforms such as funded three-year-old kindergarten and free kindergarten.
The seasoned educator, who has two sons of her own, was drawn to kindergarten because she wanted a role that allowed her more time with her children. Her sons are now grown and she has two granddaughters.
Zelma explained that part of the reason she stayed at Winifred Nance for so many years was the love for the role and the impact she could make on children attending the kindergarten.
“I love being able nurture the children and help them on their educational pathways, it’s something I love doing so I keep coming back,” she said.
“Each year you see the children come in at the start of the year and by the end they’ve changed so much, they’ve blossomed, ready to continue their educational learning, if we can be part of that love for what they’re learning that’s good.
“Sometimes I think, wow, it doesn’t feel like that long because I love what I do.”
Manager Early Years Education & Community Julie Molloy described Zelma as an integral part of the Winifred Nance team “whose musical abilities have been enjoyed by children for many years, with them gathering around her at the piano”.
“She has a calm, gentle and nurturing nature when engaging with children that is valued by children, families and her colleagues,” Julie said.
“We thank Zelma for her enormous contribution toward positive educational outcomes for the children in her care over the past 36 years. The Colac community and BCYF are fortunate to have such a passionate Early Childhood professional working at Winifred Nance.”