Inspiring teacher loves daily wonders of early childhood education

Susan Hildred is one of New Zealand's most inspiring teachers.
Murray Wilson/ Fairfax NZ.

Susan Hildred is one of New Zealand's most inspiring teachers.

One of New Zealand's most inspiring teachers says she is inspired daily by the children she teaches.

Susan Hildred, of Hokowhitu Kindergarten, has been named runner up in the national most inspiring teachers campaign.

The nomination was humbling, she said.

"Apart from being a big kid myself, I like having that real closeness with families and children and to share in their learning journey.

"I don't think I could be doing anything else. What other job can you do where you can make a difference and see something new, some enjoyment, some inspiration, some new learning, everyday?"

Fostering children's confidence and growing experiences was a privilege, she said.

"It's those children that really struggle with that separation [from parents], building a relationship with them and seeing them in a couple of months blossoming and forming relationships.

"It's about being there to support them so they are comfortable and feel they belong."

Preparing children for a life ahead, where jobs they could potentially hold were not even invented yet, was a daunting role, but new digital teaching resources and the solid base early childhood education provides were a good foundation, Hildred said.

"Teaching them that it's not that you can't do it, it's that you haven't learned it yet. It's getting past that fixed mindset. Then there's that spark when they realise they can do it."

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Hildred was nominated by Amelia Tamarapa, whose child attends Hokowhitu Kindergarten.

"Susan always creates a special bond with many of the more shy children, who may take a little longer to settle into the kindergarten environment," she said.

"Kindergarten teachers are more than just teachers on so many levels. They are an extra rock in the foundation of our children's lives, ready to do whatever it takes to love their students as if they were their own."

Thirteen-hundred-and-sixty-nine teachers from 812 schools were nominated for the awards and almost 7500 votes were cast to decide the award recipients.

Hildred was one of three runners up in the early childhood category. The overall most inspiring teacher winner was early childhood educator Claire Shackleton, of Glenbrook Kindergarten in Counties-Manukau.

 - Stuff


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