Last Wednesday marked the end of an eight and a half year journey for Wendy Forster, director of Annette’s Place Childcare Centre.
This week she is heading home to South Australia to spend more time with family after living in Young for 10 years.
Wendy started at Annette’s Place on January 12, 2004 as its second director, taking over from Di Lincoln who had managed the centre since it opened in March 1994.
Then the centre was licensed to care for 40 children per day, with an additional 10 spots offered during harvest – October to December - but Wendy quickly increased those figures to 45 children in 2004 and 50 in 2005. In 2006 it went to 60 children and 70 in 2008.
After school care also went from 15 to 20 children within two years of Wendy arriving and increased to 30 in 2006.
By 2009 the centre licensed 78 children each day, 35 children in after school care and 30 in vacation care.
Wendy started at Annette’s Place with eight full-time and two part-time staff – this week she bid farewell to 19 full-time and 15 part-time employees.
She has overseen many changes to the centre including carpet installation, a new deck in the nursery playground, shade sails, a power lift change table, renovations and nursery extensions.
New computers and a large interactive SMART board were installed in 2011 and room leaders were provided with iPads to keep pace with the ever-changing technology required.
Wendy secured grants for garden landscaping, construction of the Balinese pavilion, and installation of underground water tanks.
She also kick-started several programs such as Active After School Care, music, Artist in Residence, Behaviour Management Strategy programs, and Circle of Security and Kids Matter Early Childhood projects.
Wendy secured eight grants in her eight years at the centre.
Among her many accolades, Wendy was a guest lecturer at the Riverina TAFE in Wagga and is a published author in Every Child magazine.
Wendy handed over the reins to friend and employee of four years Kathryn Simpson, who just so happened to be one of Wendy’s first friends when she moved to town.
“I’m excited about being the new director but it’s also a very bittersweet feeling because Wendy’s going,” Kathryn said.
Annette’s Place Childcare Centre committee chairperson and mother of a child who attends the centre, Kirstin Thompson, said Annette’s Place is regarded highly as a centre of excellence and a large part of that can be attributed to its director, Wendy.