Jennifer Byfield was honoured for her 30 years’ commitment to the IEU during the Early Childhood Conference in September.
She was presented with her 30 year badge in front of conference participants by President Christine Wilkinson.
Jennifer began her career at The Infants’ Home in Ashfield before spending six years in Paris working as an au pair. She returned to Australia to start a family and was a founding director at Kootingal Preschool, serving a small village near Tamworth.
There she served for 18 years as teacher/director of 20 children before her husband’s career lead the family to North Richmond, where she worked in long day care for 13 years.
Jennifer admits she is now surprised she survived that long in private long day care, which she said was difficult. “They wouldn’t even talk to the Union.”
Now she is happily back on the floor at Elizabeth Street Preschool and loving teaching again.
“I didn’t want to end my days sitting in the office asking people for money,” she said.
Her long commitment to the IEU has provided her with support when dealing with parent committees that “didn’t really know what their roles were”.
“I had to deal with them wanting to lay off staff at the end of the year and re-employ them in January, so they didn’t have to pay for Christmas holidays.”
IEU also supported her when she broke her ankle and had Workers Comp issues.
A regular at the Early Childhood Conference, Jenifer said she always finds it “challenging and motivating”.