A lifetime of learning

Kelmscott Primary School teacher Diana Bickford is retiring after 33 years. Picture: Matt Jelonek           d441146
Kelmscott Primary School teacher Diana Bickford is retiring after 33 years. Picture: Matt Jelonek         d441146

�It has been my passion,� she said. �I always wanted to find out how children learn and the mentors who helped me develop a positive approach were my children.�

The well-known Kelmscott Primary School art teacher decided to retire last month after dedicating almost 50 years of her life to education.

Mrs Bickford began teaching in 1967 in Waroona.

She moved to a small school in Bindi Bindi from 1968 to 1969, before heading back to the City to teach in Cannington for 10 years.

In 1974, she and her husband moved to Kelmscott with their two young girls.

After Mrs Bickford had her third child, a son, she was offered a tandem teaching position at Kelmscott Primary, which her daughers attended.

�I taught every grade and then I was offered the position of art specialist,� she said.

The last 33 years of Mrs Bickford�s teaching career have been at Kelmscott Primary, including 18 as an art specialist, which she described as the most rewarding part.

�All the children really enjoy going along to art classes,� she said. �It�s so wonderful watching them develop their skills and creativity.�

Mrs Bickford also introduced innovate teaching programs to Kelmscott Primary, including the perceptual motor program based on literacy and co-ordination exercises. She has also written and published eight resource books for teachers, worked with Primary Extension and Academic Challenge (PEAC) students, and held art therapy classes for at-risk children.

Her approach to teaching includes observing and researching different ways children learn and adapting her teaching to suit their needs.

�My children taught me how to teach,� she said. �It was through their eyes and ongoing development that led me to pursue effective and successful strategies.

�I�ve seen so many curriculum changes over the years, but I�ve always taught the way I thought was most effective.�

The impact Mrs Bickford had on students has not gone unnoticed, with many former students acknowledging how much they enjoyed her classes. To mark her retirement, Kelmscott Primary held a moving assembly, which highlighted all the work she had done at the school, including the many murals and artworks she created.