They have made her laugh, feel proud, and now, they will no doubt make her shed a tear.
Silvia Hardy, the director of Narwee Preschool Kindergarten, is retiring this year, and the kids are preparing to say farewell – but not goodbye.
The Caringbah educator’s career began in 1994, after she re-trained from her days as a primary school teacher, and made the transition into early childhood.
Her success stories include making the preschool inclusive for all kids, including those from low-income families and children from multicultural backgrounds.
Mrs Hardy fondly recalls one former student, who was diagnosed with autism, and is now completing a university degree.
She worked to keep fees low for disadvantaged children, and developed strong connections with surrounding primary schools.
Narwee Preschool has also won a number of awards with Mrs Hardy at the helm, including a nod in the council’s best childcare centre and sustainability awards.
She says the time however, has come to wrap up.
“My husband is a teacher, and he’s also retiring, so it’s a good time for us both,” she said.
“I’ve really liked this age group – seeing the little guys before they go to big school. They are so loving and they take wonder in anything, and it’s great that three-year-olds are being funded.”
“We’ve been blessed in my time here because we have received lots of grants for interactive technology – Smartboard, and new turf.
“I’ve been very lucky because we have parent volunteers, so I’m going to put my name down for that, come back to cut some fruit and do a bit of vacuuming and help out.”