From snowy Wales to new life Down Under
From the snow-capped peaks of Wales to sunny Wynnum in Queensland, early childhood teacher Deb Wynn has come a long way to pursue her dream of living the sunshine life and teaching in Australia.
It took a mysterious illness and two months of being bed-ridden for Ms Wynn to embark on a bold new life as a kindergarten teacher working with Goodstart Early Learning. So, how did she get here and what keeps her passionate about early learning?
“Life literally stopped,” Ms Wynn reflects. “I was 34, had a wonderful job, a beautiful home and family and I was generally happy in my world. And suddenly I was struck down with a debilitating illness. It reminded me how precious life was. I remember thinking if that if I got my health and life back, I would make sure I enjoyed every second to the full.”
While recovering from her illness Ms Wynn saw an episode of the popular UK television series, Wanted Down Under
, which follows the lives of British families as they are given an intimate look at life in Australia ahead of possible migration.
“It was while watching the show and hearing from other families who had migrated to Australia that I realised the only thing lacking in our lives was sunshine. I was instantly sold on the ‘sunshine future life dream’ and it set the whole process of starting a new life in Australian in motion,” she said.
It wasn’t a smooth journey however. After being selected to be part of the show, (standing out against nearly 2,000 other families who apply to be on Wanted Down Under
every series), it took an agonising 18 months for the process to unfold with visa issues, filming commitments and other challenges along the way, throwing Ms Wynn and her family’s everyday life into a state of limbo. Adding to the stressful process, Ms Wynn’s husband Carl, a primary school advisory teacher, was not as convinced on making the life-changing decision.
“To be honest, I think it was through my sheer determination that we choose to overcome those challenges. Wanted Down Under
had already flown our family to Australia, so we had already experienced what life in Queensland could offer, which made me even more determined that we could make it work.
“It was a complete sense of relief and exhilaration when finally in November 2015 we arrived in Brisbane to start our new life living by the water in Cleveland.”
Back in the UK, Ms Wynn had studied a Bachelor of Primary Education with Honours degree, and spent many years working in a primary school in a classroom environment. At the time of applying to be part of the show, she had spent the past 10 years working as a consultant for Flying Start, an early years programme for families with children under four years of age living in disadvantaged areas of Wales. This role involved training staff and leading inspections of all Flying Start settings across Wales.
“I’ve always been passionate about working with children. Childhood is precious and a hugely important time of our lives. It is extremely rewarding to know you are playing such a key role in helping to influence and shape the young minds of the next generation.”
“I love working at Goodstart (Wynnum West). They have been incredibly supportive of me as I’ve transitioned into the centre and adjusted to a new curriculum and new life in Australia. I also love the fact Goodstart is a not-for-profit organistion, as that is very dear to my heart. I feel so fortunate I’ve been able to continue my passion for teaching while contributing to a greater social purpose,” she said.
“As an early childhood teacher, no day is ever the same. Teaching and caring for children has its challenging moments, but at the end of the day it is the joy of the job that makes it all worthwhile.”
Update on the Wynn family
Ms Wynn and her family and have settled well into life in Australia and are enjoying their new careers and lifestyle. Husband Carl has set up his own ‘Puppetrix’ Children’s Entertainment business, a long-time dream of his, and Ms Wynn is hoping she can finish writing a book series titled ‘Snooky and Peep’ – a developmentally progressive series of learning rich stories for parents and children which would hopefully develop as an online app. Six-year-old Ella is making lots of friends at her new school, and Ms Wynn’s 21 year-old son has just arrived in Queensland to join the family in their new lives ‘Down Under’.