News from Y Kinders

Congratulations and thank you Sue!

March 19, 2024 Our teams

This month, Sue Forward, Early Childhood teacher at Orbost Kindergarten celebrated 40 years of teaching and being part of so many children’s first experiences in their educational journey.

Sue’s determination to teach young children started early. Not to be hindered when she was originally told she didn’t have the desired pre-requisites, Sue put forward compelling arguments and convinced the former Institute of Early Childhood Development to give her a place. Since then, she’s never looked back.

Commencing at Orbost kindergarten in 1984, Sue brought her incredible dedication to the profession and passion for the outdoors, contributing to so many creative and positive kinder learning experiences.

One of the first things she did on arrival at the service was to create a mud patch.

A love of teaching and nature

The natural environment is very close to Sue’s heart and influences her educational approach and philosophy. She adores the beauty and opportunities that come from the location, bushland surroundings and the Orbost township.

Her love of encouraging hands-on sensory experiences has continued, more recently converting a former sandpit into a water play area, with a ground cover of specially selected stones and pebbles which feel wonderful underfoot.

Strong bonds and community support

Over the decades, Sue has seen the growth of the centre from 65 children, to topping 90 in some years. She has been an important part of the lives of children from more than one generation of the same family. And just as she has supported the community, so has the community supported her. The strong bonds throughout run deep and are felt regularly.

Sue shared, “Small communities can be really special. Particularly when it comes to kinder. Our community loves and cherishes its kinder. While we have 4 primary schools, we have only one kindergarten.”

The Orbost team had long marked the day, ensuring that word of Sue’s milestone was spread widely.  The community, including past Committee members, families and former students were invited to an afternoon tea, where after a celebratory cake was cut, many stories were recounted. Visitors eagerly toured the kinder, keen to see the changes and transformations that had occurred over the years.

Being part of the change – elevating early education

A notable development for Sue, and a source of pride, has been to see the role of early education elevated to become much more highly regarded, recognised and valued. She has witnessed the shift in professionalism, the emphasis on providing solid preparation for school and accentuating learning for life.

While the picturesque area may have partially influenced Sue’s decision to stay in the region over the years, it is the children who have kept her enthusiasm illuminated. Sue travels a round trip of 120km every day, to do what she truly loves.

“I never cease to be moved by the excitement of children when they learn something. It constantly amazes me how there’s always something new,” Sue said when asked about her daily experience as a teacher. “Seeing them so full of wonder, it is really special.”

We are very privileged to have Sue on our teaching team at Orbost Kindergarten. With many heartfelt thanks and huge amounts of appreciation we congratulate Sue!

The Y acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures; and to Elders past, present and future.

View our full Commitment Statements here .

© Copyright YMCA 2022. All Rights Reserved.