More than 100 parents, children and friends of the kindergarten got together at Pakuranga Baptist Kindergarten to throw a surprise party for head teacher, Jacqui Lees.
The get-together was last Thursday July 5.
Jacqui has been teaching at Pakuranga Baptist Kindergarten since 1998, and has been the kaiwhakahaere (head teacher) since 2001.
Jacqui says it’s amazing to now have children at the kindy whose parents she remembers teaching two decades ago.
“Over the years I have been here I have met and come to know many wonderful friends,” says Lees. “I think of myself as a tree, with deep roots in this community.”
Parents at the kindergarten commented on the dedication and love Jacqui brings to her role.
“Jacqui is very modest about her work and doesn’t see how special she is,” says kindergarten parent Carrie Harman.
“But we see it very differently. Her focus on holistic education shapes everything about this amazing kindy. It feels magical the moment you walk through the gate.”
Jacqui’s passion for the environment is obvious in the kindergarten’s strong environmental focus. Pakuranga Baptist Kindergarten became an accredited Enviroschool in 2015 and started the popular ‘Outdoor Explorers’ programme in 2017.
Jacqui has a Bachelor of Education from the University of Auckland and has continued her professional development over the years participating in many different courses and research projects, both in New Zealand and overseas.
Pakuranga Baptist Kindergarten is a community-based kindergarten offering full and half-day session for 2 to 5-year olds. Their mixed-age centre provides a place of connection and collaboration, allowing our younger children to be inspired and challenged by the older children, while our older ones learn to share their skills and take responsibility for others.