Christine McCall, a nursery teacher from Portobello, has left her post at St John’s Nursery after 18 years.
Ms McCall was born and raised in Gilmerton, attending Gilmerton Primary School and then Liberton High School.
She has admitted that she never had any doubt that she wanted to spend her life working with young children. “Everyone knew that’s what I was going to do, even when I was at school,” she said. “I was the local creche leader, and when I was a teenager I spent a lot of time babysitting.”
In 1982 she started a two-year course at the then Jewel and Esk Valley College in Eskbank for training under the old Scottish Nursery Nursing Examination Board.
In 1984 she started work at the Princess Elizabeth Nursery, and was there until 1987, when she left to give birth to her first daughter, Mhairi.
Ms McCall met her ex-husband Craig when she was still at school and the pair were married in 1986 at Duddingston Kirk, and in 1990 had a second daughter, Lindsay. Mr McCall was a police officer with Lothian and Borders, which allowed Christine to stay at home to raise her children.
In 1994 she returned to work, taking what was originally intended as a temporary maternity placement at St John’s Nursery. It was supposed to last just six months, but it was only yesterday, after 18 years, that she finally left.
“I think it was probably the sense of community at St John’s that encouraged me to stay,” she said. “Most of the staff stay locally, and although my own children didn’t go there they have since become friends with children I taught at nursery.”
Ms McCall is leaving to take up a role with the Thistle Foundation.
“I have been looking for a bit more flexibility – the school holidays are fantastic when your own children are growing up, but now I am looking for time off during the week.”
On her last day on Tuesday staff presented her with a gift voucher, while the children gave her gifts of chocolates and flowers.
Christine said it was the families that she would miss most of all. “You really get to know the families, and a lot of them have two or three kids coming here, so you spend a lot of time with them, and often with grandparents too,” she said.