A Timaru early childhood teacher has been recognised for services to the profession.
Lynne Bruce has received a life membership from New Zealand Kindergartens Incorporated after more the 40 years of dedicated service.
A list of her achievements reads extensively, including head teacher positions across New Zealand, New Zealand Free Kindergarten Teachers Association national president, Wellington College of Education senior lecturer, and private secretary to the assistant minister of education.
South Canterbury Kindergarten Association general manager Dave Hawkey said she had essentially devoted her life to the profession.
“Lynne was instrumental in positioning kindergartens to have equal status with schools in the education sector. Through her efforts we saw the introduction of pay parity and increased staffing ratios for kindergartens. Lynne was a strong advocate for the profession and was at the cutting edge of conversations and political debate when kindergartens were endeavouring to establish their credibility in the education sector.”
As a political adviser to Margaret Shields, who was associate minister of education and minister for women’s affairs, Ms Bruce lobbied to support the importance of registration of kindergarten teachers.
“Being in a female›dominated sector, Lynne advocated that early childhood services were needed to support women returning to work, adding strength to the New Zealand labour market,” Mr Hawkey said.
“In so doing, Lynne was uncompromising in making sure that early childhood services delivered high-quality programmes and were staffed with high-quality, trained teachers.”
Ms Bruce said the ratio of early childhood teachers to pupils was one to 40 when she started teaching.
“We now have one to 10 ratio.”
However, there were a lot of people involved in the positive changes, she said.
“These achievements people have collectively gained. I haven’t done it on my own. We had a lot of good people lobbying.”
Her role had been professional and political, she said.
“There were three aspects: I had a mother who was socially conscious, a dad who was a people person, and people I worked with who were positive influences.
The common goal is having the best for children.
My great concern for the future is the growth of people who get into early childhood education for profit. The money gets siphoned off.
I believe we are over› populated in many areas for early childhood education.
Ms Bruce said it was a huge honour and she accepted the life membership on behalf of other teachers she had worked with.