By Jen Gourley
Every day at Kindy is exciting when you’ve got friends to catch up with, fun activities and games play, and shady spots under big, leafy trees where you can enjoy a story or two. But today was extra exciting at Biloela Kindy as staff, families and children gathered to celebrate a special occasion – it was Michelle Gallagher’s 20th anniversary of working at the kindy!
The much-loved director and early childhood teacher was surprised with a big pink cake, gifts and a gorgeous bunch of flowers as everyone gathered to say thank you and shout hip, hip, hooray!
Described as “the heart of the kindy” by a fellow staff member, Michelle’s contributions over two decades at the kindy were acknowledged at this happy celebration.
Megan Watterston, whose three children have all attended Biloela Kindy, commented how well Michelle connects with the kindy kids.
“She does it quite effortlessly,” Megan said. “She always thinking outside the square, always doing something different and new, and bringing challenges to the kids that prepare them for school. And they can still enjoy being kids. She’ll do things like the walk around the streets at Easter time, and at springtime, taking flowers or Easter eggs, which is great. She does Bush Kindy, excursions to all the different schools when they’re getting ready for Prep and stuff like that. She just goes well and truly above and beyond. It’s not just Kindy. It’s very much preparing them for the next stage, which is nice.”
Twenty years is a long time in any job, so what has kept Michelle at Biloela Kindy?
“I enjoy working alongside children,” reflected Michelle. “I love what they bring to your life every day. And they’re just like little people, you have great conversations with them. And they’ve got a great outlook on life, which I love.”
Over the years, families have remained connected to the kindy and it’s this connection that Michelle really appreciates.
“I think I’ve had a third-generation family come through kindy where Grandma, and then I think it was Dad, and then the two grandkids have come through Kindy. So that’s really special. (That was the two grandkids during my time.) And I’ve potentially got one of my first group of kindy children, her child, to come and start this year. So, I’m finally up to that stage of getting kids of kids, so that’s pretty significant too.
“I have worked with some amazing families and parents. I just love that we’re a community kindy so we’re run by the families that come to our Kindy so, to me, we must be doing a good job as a kindy to have parents coming back and going ‘Yep, I’m going to come on the committee and help run it and help make it even better’. So, I like to work alongside those families, making improvements so you can make the kindy the best it can possibly be.
“Thank you to all of the committee members that I’ve worked with and all the staff that I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside over the 20 years as well. And thank you to our community. Because we are a community kindergarten, we rely heavily on our community who have supported us with lots of a fundraising ventures, like the Dam Run. We’ve had trivia nights and golf days and comedy nights so we’re really appreciative of everyone’s support of our kindy.”
So, there may have been a sea of smiley little faces covered in pink icing at the kindy this morning, but it’s the big role that Michelle has played in so many Bilo kids’ lives that really takes the cake.