The name Lyn Schroder has been synonymous with Picton Community Preschool for decades.
Mrs Schroder started her teaching career at the school in 1980. Nearly 40 years later, she is ready for the next chapter in life.
The popular school director/teacher recently celebrated her retirement with colleagues and students.
Mrs Schroder, 61 said she had mixed feelings about retiring.
"It's rather exciting," she said.
"Teaching has been my passion for so long, but I look forward to my next adventure - looking after our four grandchildren."
Mrs Schroder said her passion for early childhood was ignited when growing up.
"My aunty Marcia Burgess was my inspiration for becoming a teacher," she said.
"She didn't have children of her own, so I became her surrogate daughter.
"My aunty helped establish greater inclusion with KU Children's Services. They now have a centre in Liverpool named in her honour [Marcia Burgess Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre]."
Mrs Schroder graduated from Waverley's Sydney Kindergarten Teacher's College in 1979 and moved to Wollondilly one year later.
She said there had been many changes over the past four decades, including tighter industry regulations and technology advances.
Another major change occurred when not-for-profit organisation Big Fat Smiles took over operations at the Picton school in 2012.
"Early childhood has changed so much over the years, but the children haven't changed," Mrs Schroder said.
"Picton preschool has always been about play-based learning."
Mrs Schroder said she never expected to stay for 39 years but was glad she did.
"The kids here have brought me such joy," the Picton resident said.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. Even though there have been ups and downs, they have made me the person I am today.
"I haven't got enough words to say thank you."
Parent Cathy Nolan had two children attend Picton Community Preschool and said Mrs Schroder would be sorely missed.
"Lyn has put so much love and dedication into the preschool and the children," Ms Nolan said.
"She deserves to enjoy her retirement and spend quality time with her children and grandchildren.
"I feel so lucky to have had Lyn in my children's lives as well as my own - we will always be so grateful to her."