For the past eight years, Murrumbateman Preschool (MECCA) Director Janelle Massey has been actively studying and working at the centre.

Janelle stepped into her new role as Director on September 1; was previously the Assistant Director and is still currently an Educational Leader.

When Janelle first started at MECCA, the centre was half the size, and her youngest two children of four were attending the preschool.

Then, there was an opening for work at the centre during school hours, and Janelle found it fit as she could work hours that suit her kids being at the centre, as well as working with children, which she loves.

She was then offered an opportunity to study so that she could upgrade her skills to meet changes in standards required from educational providers over the years.

Director Janelle Massey said it was always her intention to work her way up while building her skills to improve the quality of education she could provide the children.

Since day one at MECCA, Janelle has completed a Certificate 3 in Children Services, a Diploma in Children Services. She is currently on her last subject in a Bachelor of Education at Charles Sturt University.

All of her studying has been done via correspondence and part-time distance education, so she could continue her role as mum as well as a part-timer at MECCA.

Former Director and current Educator Christine Armstead said the centre is lucky to have Janelle around on the team.

“MECCA has been so fortunate with successions like Janelle working towards her degree and being able and motivated to continue. This does not happen very often,” Ms Armstead said.

When reflecting upon her time at MECCA, Janelle said it was role models like Christine that helped her rekindle her love for early childhood education each time she walked through the doors of the centre.

“Christine has been an amazing role model. I am striving to be as good as she is and to be able to not [replace her], but to do my job as good as I can,” she said.

“Great role model of teachers over the years has been great for me; it has allowed me to do my job and love it even more.

“We are a tight-knit family working for the best outcome for the preschool and the community.”

Despite the centre being presented with many challenges at the moment, especially with the pandemic, Janelle said MECCA will always be there for the community.

“Stepping into the role, I think it’s going to be a challenge, with the way things are changing it’s been a challenging period with COVID, the bushfires, the drought, things thrown at us”, she said.

“But during that period, we have been able to maintain an amazing preschool environment for the children and the families in our really beautiful community.

“The doors have always been open during all these experiences, and we are always here for the community.”

Going forward, Janelle said she would love to involve the community more, in making a more inclusive environment with new families moving into the area.

Janelle also hopes to celebrate and embrace more cultures at MECCA and in the greater area.

Christopher Tan