Centre’s founder honoured, farewelled

Life member . . . Tokomairiro Early Childhood Centre founding member and teacher Lynne Philip with her great›niece Thea Ingram (2). PHOTO: NICK BROOK

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Milton’s Tokomairiro Early Learning Centre has farewelled afounding staff member with a life membership conferred after 31 years of service.

Lynne Philip helped establish the centre and worked there from its opening in 1991 until her retirement celebration yesterday.

‘‘When I was little I used to dream about looking after an orphanage,’’ she said.

Mrs Philip trained at Otago Polytechnic and has roots in Milton, where she moved after her marriage 45 years ago.

The centre’s premises in Johnson St were originally a school house.

Alterations to the building were some of many changes during her years in the profession.

‘‘I was playcentre supervisor and organiser, and there were more of those in my early years because there were just more children around,’’ Mrs Philip said.

‘‘Along with the ageing population, we saw more mums joining fathers in the workforce, and even grandparents working longer.’’

Two years ago, Mrs Philip pulled back from fulltime teaching to three days a week as an administrator, a role she breaks up by getting among the kids.

The centre’s current manager, Joanne Mead, estimated more than 1000 children had passed through the centre in Mrs Philips time.

‘‘Our kids, staff, families and governing committee are going to miss her and thank her for her years of dedication and commitment, and wish her all the best for her retirement,’’ Mrs Mead said.

Mrs Philip said she planned to travel New Zealand and see more of her three children and four grandchildren, though she was likely to drop in to the centre for a coffee, given she had been living right next door since 2005.

‘‘Joanne, the governing committee and the whole team have always done a wonderful job, especially during Covid, and I really want to thank my husband Allan for all his support and volunteer work as the centre’s handyman,’’ she said.