Hard work, dedication marked
She’s spent 35 years building with blocks, reading books and making cakes with Playdoh - and 25 of those have been spent at Riversdale Playcentre in northern Southland.
Naomi Slack began her association with Playcentre when her own children were young at the neighbouring town of Balfour, where she began training as a supervisor.
‘‘My son is going to be 40 soon so that should give you some idea of how long it’s been.
‘‘It probably just all grew from there, seeing them through and off to school and then I carried on.’’
Her first role as a supervisor was at Lumsden, and at the same time she was a liaison officer for the playcentre at Riversdale.
In 1992 she began as the supervisor, now known as an educator, at Riversdale.
She loved the job so much she’s never left, and she’s now teaching the children of children she first taught all those years ago.
‘‘There’s been quite a few second generation children come through over the years, it’s quite funny because I don’t feel like I’ve been here that long.
‘‘Sometimes I think ‘I taught him or her’ and it makes you a little bit proud.’’
‘‘The best thing about it is the friendships you make, and watching the children you teach grow up and seeing what they achieve and what they’ve done.’’
There were plenty of other benefits. As well as the job being fun, she could also help in the community.
‘‘Being able to help people, not just children but the parents and families as well, is so rewarding.’’
Slack was also rewarded this week with a life membership to the Riversdale Playcentre.
‘‘It’s very unexpected and a bit overwhelming.
‘‘The experiences I’ve had and lots of the things I’ve done in life I’ve done have been because of Playcentre but it’s the people above all.’’
Riversdale Playcentre president Michelle Houghton said Slack’s hard work and dedication made her worthy of a life membership to the organisation.
Slack’s achievement was celebrated with a morning tea for the children and family members, and she was presented with a book of photos, which along with the cake was an instant hit with the children.
‘‘She creates a great learning environment for the children they all love her.’’
Naomi Slack is about to get some help blowing out the candles on her cake, celebrating 25 years at Riversdale Playcentre.