'They are a canvas to be moulded' - Pre-school teacher says goodbye after 30 years
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
When Diane Button was looking for a new pre-school for her sons in 1991 she could never have imagined that she would still be there teaching three decades later.
Mrs Button is to leave her role at Blundeston pre-school after spending 30 years helping to look after and educate young pupils.
Originally, however, Mrs Button wasn't looking for a new job role at all, but a place she could send her own twin boys.
"It started for me when my eldest sons were down to start the playgroup in June 1991," said Mrs Button.
"The chairperson at the time said would I like to come along and help.
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"I didn't really know what was involved. I came along and I immediately found myself as a voluntary member of staff, on the committee and the secretary of the committee.
"And I'm still here!"
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The pre school looked very different back in the early 90s when Mrs Button started.
"There's such a difference between 30 years ago and now it's a completely different world really," she said.
"Obviously when I started 30 years ago Blundeston pre-school was completely voluntary; voluntary staff and a voluntary committee.
"We were all volunteers and we were all parents."
"Now, we still have a voluntary committee but obviously the staff are very well trained and we don't have volunteers at all."
Mrs Button had experience working with children before she came to the nursery but this was with older children.
"I wish now I had trained for this age but I trained with older children," said Mrs Button.
"At the time that's where I thought I was really interested.
"Then I went along to pre-school and I just love working with them."
Mrs Button said there was a real appeal to working with children at such a young age.
"They are so lovely to work with," said Mrs Button.
"They don't have any preconceived ideas. They play with everybody. They are a canvas to be moulded.
"It's just nice to be the first place for them to go after they have left their mum's and for them to learn that learning is fun."
There have been more challenges in recent months brought forward by the pandemic.
"We were off for a couple of months last year," said Mrs Button.
"We came back in June and we were limited on the number of children we could have.
"We were washing hands, having the safe distance and wearing masks - which obviously the children were a bit dubious about.
"There were some challenges along the way. You didn't realise how lovely it was until you lost it."
Mrs Button has been at the pre-school for so long that the she is now starting to see the children of those she had taught previously.
She won't be retiring completely but will be stepping back.
"I am going to miss it, I know I will," she said.
"But my time has come. I won't be putting up my feet completely."
She has a lifetime of memories from teaching.
"It's just the real enjoyment that I have had from over the years," said Mrs Button.
"Working with the staff, who have been great and obviously the dedication of the committee.
"It's quite an involved job and they have given their time for several years."
Looking back over her time at the pre-school Mrs Button had advice for people considering moving into the same line of work.
"It's a fantastic and very rewarding career," she said.
"It is very hard work but the children are the reward."
"It’s been a real pleasure to have worked with Diane over the last six years," said colleagues Jenny Clark and Emma Knights.
"Diane is the main reason that we have our own premises now. We came from a ‘pack away’ setting that only operated part time and now we can open all year around offering full day care securing the Pre-Schools future, and Diane was the driving force behind this move and we are entirely great full as are all our families.
"Diane has always been committed and in 30 years has only had a remarkable two weeks off for illness.
"Diane will be missed greatly by us all."