Anglicare Family Day Care recently honoured Goulburn Playgroup Leader, Rhonda Perry, as she marked her retirement following 38 years of service with the organisation.
The celebration event took place at Anglicare's Goulburn Family Day Care Centre and was particularly memorable as Katie Beelen- Smith, who was the event organiser and Anglicare's Education Leader in Goulburn, was once cared for by Rhonda at the playgroup.
"Caring for children is Rhonda's top priority, and nothing other than the very best will do. I know this first-hand because she cared for me during playgroup when I was a child," Katie said.
While usually preferring to be out of the spotlight, Rhonda says she wants to mark this occasion by encouraging others to consider becoming Family Day Care educators.
"Family Day Care has been operating in Goulburn for over 40 years, and I'm very passionate about it as I know it provides quality care for children. I have hung on in this role for the last three or four years as Family Day Care Educators are in such short supply. My hope is that more people in our community put their hands up to become Educators too," Rhonda said.
"Family Day Care is unique and rewarding. My greatest joy is seeing the smiles on children's faces. If they're happy, they're learning and feeling a sense of belonging."
Many members of the local community including children, parents, family members and staff members both past and present, attended the surprise celebration, which took place on Thursday, June 24.
"Rhonda's departure into retirement, while extremely well deserved, is a loss felt keenly by all of those who have known and loved her during her career. We wish her all the very best as she moves into this next stage of her life, and we are very grateful for her extensive contributions. We will greatly miss her artistic flair, her dedication to family day care, and her passion as an educator and teacher," Katie added.
Rhonda started with Anglicare as an Educator for Goulburn Family Day Care for several years before making the switch to Playgroup Leader.
During her time with Anglicare, she has facilitated, organised and planned quality play experiences, excursions and outings for many children across Goulburn and region.
Rhonda has also been a firm advocate for family day care as a quality form of education and care for young children, and provided support to educators working alongside her.
For more about Anglicare's Family Day Care service, or to enquire about being a Family Day Care Educator, visit here.
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