After more than three decades in the early childhood teaching profession, Parkes Early Childhood Centre's Director Lindy Farrant is retiring
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Lindy has been the centre's Director since it officially opened in 1994.
Her journey in Parkes began when she moved from Sydney in 1978 to teach at the centre when it was known as the Parkes Preschool Kindergarten.
Passionate about early education, Lindy said she has been privileged to have been surrounded by teachers, educators, management, families, community members and organisations who have all focused on the best interests of the early education and care of the children of Parkes.
"I feel very honoured to have been the Director of this community-based centre which has such a rich history in the early education of the children of Parkes," Lindy said.
At the tender age of 21, Lindy arrived at Parkes Preschool in 1978 when it was celebrating its 25th anniversary and remained a teacher there until 1984, after which Lindy gained further experience in early childhood education working with Department of Family and Community Services, as well as TAFE.
Initially I thought I would be teaching in Parkes for a couple of years before returning to Sydney, however, the town's strong community spirit proved to be one of the catalysts to me staying.- Lindy Farrant
"Initially I thought I would be teaching in Parkes for a couple of years before returning to Sydney, however, the town's strong community spirit proved to be one of the catalysts to me staying," she said.
Lindy returned to Parkes Preschool Kindergarten in 1993 and was appointed Director.
She was also a member of the steering committee involved in the restructuring and expansion process of the preschool to include long day and casual places in addition to the existing preschool numbers.
Lindy successfully applied for the position of the Director of the expanded service which was officially opened in October 1994 as Parkes Early Childhood Centre (PECC).
Lindy reflected on the centre's strong sense of community and history.
"I was honoured to be a part of a community-based organisation where at one time, four generations of one family were connected to PECC," Lindy said.
One of Lindy's many career highlights was her involvement with the original committee of the Birth to Kindergarten early literacy initiative, now known as Paint the Town REaD.
"This ground-breaking focus on the importance of reading, singing, talking to children from birth has proved to have many positive outcomes for children," she said.
"It has also strengthened the collaborative connections and networks between PECC and all local schools."
Lindy was also a member of the inaugural Central West committee piloting a state government funding program to assist children with additional needs to access early learning programs.
She has enjoyed and appreciated the community's incredible support, especially with fundraising for PECC over the years.
"In the early years, we staged many amazing art shows that raised much-needed funds for PECC," Lindy said.
"The art shows provided essential resources for the children's education during this time."
"It was a much anticipated annual event.
"Through the efforts of our wonderful fundraising committees, tens of thousands of dollars were raised over the years - again emphasising the wonderful sense of community within Parkes Shire.
"Another example of this community spirit has been the continued funding support from the Parkes QUE Club (formerly Parkes Quota Club) of our speech and language programs.
"QUE has also donated Soundfell Systems to support children at PECC with hearing loss. "
Ever-evolving changes and improvements, both to the environment and to early learning have occurred over the years at PECC.
"When I first started teaching, there wasn't a formal curriculum for early learning," Lindy said.
"A NSW state curriculum was initially introduced and in 2009 a national curriculum - the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) was launched by the federal government.
"The aim of this framework was to provide the principles, practices and outcomes that support and enhance young children's learning from birth to five years of age, as well as their transition to school.
"Other significant changes during my career has included research in brain development of children.
"This clearly shows the positive outcomes for children attending high quality early education programs."
Looking forward, Lindy is excited to be spending her retirement years with her family and friends.
She plans to travel and exercise more and pursue interests she hasn't been able to do for a long time, such as pottery.
"I will certainly miss the children, families, work colleagues and PECC community," Lindy said.
"Now is the right time for me to move on and I look forward to watching the proud history of our 65-year-old centre continue."
As a way to of thanking Lindy for her years of dedicated service to the centre and the Parkes community and celebrate her career, PECC is hosting a special farewell event that is open to the public.
Everyone in the community, including children, are invited to attend the Parkes Golf Club on Saturday, March 7 from 2pm until 5pm.
Official proceedings will take place at 3.30pm.
For catering purposes, those interested in attending are asked to RSVP by Friday, February 28 at www.trybooking.com/BIBFI
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