Lucie Humphries was born in the Czech Republic and moved to New Zealand in 2005 with her Kiwi husband. Lucie had always loved being around children and had worked as a nanny in London.
In her new hometown, Invercargill, she was able to get some work experience at Salford Preschool and found the environment so stimulating that she decided to enrol for a Bachelor of Teaching – Early Childhood Education degree at the University of Otago College of Education Southland Campus.
She was the only ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) student in her class but found everyone to be very supportive.
"It’s a small campus so you really get to know everyone in your class and all the tutors. People helped me spell-check my essays and taught me English nursery rhymes, and the lecturers were so approachable, I always felt comfortable chatting to them about my assignments.
"I loved the learning, particularly learning to understand young children’s behaviour and how to recognise when and why they are frustrated or angry; basically learning about how they learn.
"We had two, three-week postings a year at different early childcare centres and they were awesome experiences. It was really valuable to see so many different ways of doing things and I developed so many ideas of what I could do."
2010 was Lucie’s first year of work after graduating and she was able to return to Salford Preschool in a full-time position.
"I was so thrilled to be able to come back here. I work with such a great team and that’s such a plus compared to being a nanny, which often was a lonely job. I care for infants and toddlers under two years of age. I love this age group as they are learning so many things: how to crawl, how to walk and learning to talk. I am fascinated by their learning and development.
"I find the work very rewarding especially watching children learn through play and exploration. There are those golden moments when they accomplish something new on their own and they just light up – it’s very special. This is definitely the career for me."