36 years at preschool


Former Queenstown Pre-school & Nursery manager Pam Maclean has retired after a devoted 36-year stint with the centre.

After stepping down as manager late last year to work part-time, she was honoured with a farewell function last Friday.

Maclean began part-time with the former Queenstown Creche in 1982, only three years after it started.

She became head teacher when it moved in 1987 from former premises on the Shotover Street/Brecon St corner to the old high school complex in Henry St.

At the same time the ceiling on the number of kids rose from 28 to 70.

“In those very early years, the committee members used to go around the town begging for money so that the centre could stay open because we had no money to pay the wages,” Maclean recalls.

“They had the tough time of battling with mostly women who used to think it was terrible that people left their children at the creche.”

Following Ministry of Ed-ucation grants and community fundraising, the renamed Queenstown Childcare Centre Preschool & Nursery moved to new premises off Brecon St in 1996.

Maclean says a highlight’s been the people she’s worked with and committee members over the years.

“We’ve had so many really good committees, it’s made a huge difference.”

She’s loved the job, she says – “that’s why I stayed so long”.

A big change is the extra compliance requirements these days.

To take children off-site, for example, “you’ve got to fill out three pages of paperwork”.

Another highlight has been seeing former preschoolers come back with their own children – “and quite a few have come back as staff”.

Asked what Maclean was like, new manager Jo Gibson replies: “Incredible, flexible, and a fun-to-have boss.”