Beloved teacher passes baton at Timboon kinder

Published on 08 July 2024

From left Sally Costin, Cath Matthews, Teigan Vanderhorst, Barb Foster, Terrianne Stansfield, Bec Kuhl, David Rae and Kelly Jeffery.jpg

Cation: (L-R) Sally Costin, Cath Matthews, Teigan Vanderhorst, Barb Foster, Terrianne Stansfield, Bec Kuhl, David Rae Kelly Jeffery

Barb Foster passed the baton at Corangamite Shire Council’s Timboon & District Kindergarten when she retired at the end of Term 2.

Mrs Foster has been an Early Years Educator with Corangamite Shire for 33 years.

“I trained as a teacher before I got married. I worked for seven years at Saint Brendan’s at Coragulac,” Mrs Foster said.

“When I got married and had children I used to help at the school.

“I had children at the kindergarten eventually and they asked me to fill in as a casual worker. That’s how I started working at the Shire.

“I did mobile childcare then I worked at every centre apart from Derrinallum.

“Eventually Jane Bennett went on maternity leave and they offered me a job at Simpson.

“I did that for 12 months and that led to getting a job at Timboon. I was there for 20-odd years. Sometimes I did one group, sometimes I did two groups… It varied depending on the number of children enrolled that year.”

Mrs Foster said she had worked with some wonderful people, made some wonderful friends and taught hundreds of children in three- and four-year-old kindergarten.

She keeps tabs on her former charges as they grow up.

“I’ve had some quite clever children in my care and they’ve gone on to university and done Doctorates of this and that, and Masters of other things.

“Some of them are big-time cricketers playing for Victoria and one is over in Malaysia playing cricket.

“Recently there’s been a group of boys that were in the national titles for rowing and I said all that singing of ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat’ must have helped get them into the rhythm of it.”

Upgrading Child Safe standards, IT developments, legislation and new ways of recording children’s information are among some of the changes Mrs Foster has seen but learning through play-based activity has remained a constant.

“I’ve been fortunate I’ve learnt lots. I’ve been given opportunities for exciting professional development.”

Mrs Foster said if anyone was considering a career as an educator, “you do have to love children”.

“I always wanted to be a teacher and I’ve had nine children of my own in that time.

“I’ve always had a love for children and families and getting to know people. I always like to help families wherever necessary. It’s been very gratifying and humbling to have such contacts with lots of different people.

Manager Community Services Katy Hearn said Mrs Foster’s contribution had been invaluable.

“There is little doubt Barb has had a profound impact on so many little lives, families and communities and we are deeply grateful for her length of service and incredible commitment,” Ms Hearn said.