Thanks to Sue Herbert
A couple of months ago Paula and I took Natasha and Eleanor to see Swan Lake on ice. In the middle of the performance and seemingly out of the blue Eleanor
asked me where Kuwait was. "It's a long way away in the desert in a place called the Middle East", I said, realizing that actually I didn't really know where it was either. "But when is she coming back?", Eleanor went on to ask. "I'm not sure when Sue's coming back" I replied. I then realized that Eleanor had confused Kuwait with Odette and was wondering where the white swan had disappeared to. But it made me realize that Sue's imminent departure was in the back of her mind as I think it has been in the back or front of all our minds these last few weeks.
Sue has run this wonderful pre-school for the last ten years. Her triumphs and accomplishments have been many. But rather than run through the long history of her many objective achievements I would like to talk mostly about the feelings that Sue has generated within this community of villagers, staff, parents and children.
Sue has been a very strong leader. Her approach is organised, inspired, creative and energetic. She is without doubt an exceptional teacher - having that very rare ability to capture the attention and imagination of very young children whilst keeping calm and quiet order and discipline. She has provided hundreds of imaginative, interesting and fun activities within the school to greatly develop our children's intellectual, creative, emotional, social and physical development.
Her staff says they will "miss Sue's professional approach to the running of the pre-school".
Especially they will miss the little touches and extra effort that she makes such as bringing flowers and cuttings from her garden to enhance the nature table. Most importantly Kay, Jo, Kerry and Barbara feel that Sue will be leaving the preschool in excellent order for them to continue her good work. The help she has given them in this and her confidence in them, together with their own confidence built up during the years she has led them, will certainly assure their success.
Many mothers, when their babies are born, wonder how on earth they are ever going to let them out of their sight. First we learn to trust the daddies, then perhaps wider members of the family, then our closest friends and then there comes a day when we decide that the children should go to a nursery or preschool. For many of us this means that forthe first timewe leave our precious little ones with strangers, the door is shut, and we don't really know what is going on. Not so in this pre-school. Sue's tremendous strength has been her ability not just to work with the parents of her charges and committees of parents, but to invite us and positively encourage us to be involved in the running of and the activities of the pre-school. We can come into school, we can watch our children's development and most importantly of all we can see that they are happy.
The word that many parents also use about Sue is "support". She will openly and confidently discuss matters relating to the children and the school and has become a friend to many of us. She has played an invaluable role in assisting many of us to be wise, understanding and confident parents.
I would like to leave Sue with the words of the children in her pre-school; many of which will be echoed in the memories of many children up to the age offourteen who live in Sherington and the surrounding villages:
- "Sue is the best.." .
- "I will miss Sue because of the smell, she smells nice. I like her perfume. "
- "I like Sue because she is kind. "
- "I like Sue when she gives snacks to us and tells us stories. "
- "We like playing games with Sue. It is fun. "
- "I like playing in the playground with Sue. "
- "I will miss Sue because she gives us nice stories. "
- "I like Sue when she lets us play out and we have fun. "
- "I like Sue reading me stories. "
- "Sue will like the show. "
- "She is going a long way away and I will miss her ".
And perhaps the final four-year-old comment sums up what we all feel about Sue:
To say that she will be missed is a huge understatement.