ECEC Extra: Constant ‘Miss Karin’ celebrates 40-year milestone

Karin Watts is celebrating 40 years as a union member working at the same community-based preschool. Watts spent much of her teenage years babysitting children, and so she set her sights on a career as a teacher.

“I am proud to have been a teaching director at the one service, Norwood Community preschool [established 1959], for 40 years,” Watts says.

“I enjoy the privilege of being the children’s first teacher and mentor for their future learning. I have met and worked with so many amazing children, families and colleagues.

“In the early days, Norwood had 15 children per day who attended only staggered mornings rather than full days.

“The inside environment was one small room, however the preschool had a wonderful enormous backyard where the children could play and explore, and most of the activities were set up there.

“It has seen many changes over the years, and in 2024 is a more complete structured service.”

The preschool now operates out of a Hornsby Shire Council building.

“Working in a not-for-profit community preschool is very satisfying. Parent involvement is pivotal to the viability of the preschool.

“In a rapidly changing world, I feel privileged to be viewed as a ‘constant’ Miss Karin at Norwood. Teaching second generation children provides a historical connection.

“Norwood has always been fortunate to have long-term dedicated staff who work above and beyond, embracing the values of a community-based preschool.

“These include my job share teaching partner Beverley Gowenlock, who has worked here for 23 years.”

Gowenlock and Watts were ground breakers in introducing job-sharing to the preschool when it was a new concept.

“My role has changed over the last few years. I am now a non-teaching Director as there is much more administration and accountability.

“However, I still love engaging with the children and families during the day and filling in as a teacher during staff absences.

“I would like to finally acknowledge the IEU, which is a great support for early childhood education and continues to lobby on our behalf.”

This update is part of the May 2024 edition of EXEC Extra enewsletter (formerly known as Teachers R Teachers). ECEC Extra is distributed to early childhood teachers, long day care centres and preschools three times per year. You can read past editions of ECEC Extra on our enews homepage or stay across all our updates for early childhood teachers on our ECEC page or via our Facebook community group for members only.