Who we are

Dunedin Kindergartens is the Flag salute rachel reynolds.jpgumbrella organisation for 24 individual kindergartens in the Dunedin area. We are a non-profit community based organisation governed by an elected Board.
We belong to a national organisation New Zealand Kindergartens with whom we network and share national expertise. This national perspective is strength of the kindergarten movement.

Our History

We are the original Pioneers of early childhood in Dunedin. The kindergarten movement began here in Dunedin in 1889 and we are proud to be the home of kindergarten in New Zealand. The first kindergarten opened on 10th June in the Mission Hall, Walker St (now Carroll St). Rev Rutherford Waddell, the Presbyterian minister, began planning an organisation to take children off the street in the very poor areas around his church. He asked the advice of Lavinia Kelsey, who had begun doing ‘something in the kindergarten way’ in her own private school, as well as that of Rachel Reynolds, a community leader who was concerned about the waifs of the notorious Walker St area, and Mark Cohen a social reformer interested in the Californian Free Kindergarten system. After a public meeting in March 1889, the Dunedin Free Kindergarten Association was set 116I7442.JPGup with Rachel Reynolds as President and Lavinia Kelsey as the first honorary secretary. www.otago.ac.nz/education/otago045231.pdf 

Five of our Kindergartens are named after people who believed in children and the Kindergarten movement. (Helen Deem, Jonathan Rhodes, Kelsey Yaralla, Rachel Reynolds and Richard Hudson Kindergartens). Dunedin Kindergarten's Pioneers!

Our Mission

Providing excellence in early childhood teaching and learning for all children

Our Vision

Together with parents, caregivers, whánau, community and beyond, Dunedin Kindergartens will provide excellence in the provision of early childhood teaching and learning as well as care for our children, who are the future of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Building on 125 years of tradition as leaders in the early childhood sector Dunedin Kindergartens prime focus is the children and their families.

Dunedin Kindergartens as an umbrella organisation will provide governance and management expertise to ensure excellence in teaching and learning for all children. This will be through the provision of professional leadership, the careful application of resources, and the development of policies and procedures in partnership with teachers, children, parents, whánau and beyond.

For how the children grow, so shall be the shape of Aotearoa
- Dame Whina Cooper

Our Structure

Dunedin Kindergartens is governed by a Board who collaboratively use the knowledge and resources of the 24 kindergartens and their communities to deliver an educational service that we are proud of. The Board oversees the strategic direction and purpose of the association with teaching and learning as the core business, with the ultimate outcome for children. To contact the board chair, click here for details

Dunedin Kindergartens employs Christine Kerr as General Manager and licensee to oversee the management of the service.  The Senior Teacher team of Lee Blackie and Rachel Phillips support the resourcing and professional learning of the teaching staff. Karen Fraser is the office adminstration manager and is supported by Jenny Kennelly and Sarita Aldred

Each kindergarten has a head teacher and teachers (this can vary from 3 - 5 depending on group size and licensing) whose responsibility is to ensure that they deliver teaching and learning that reflect the principles and strands of the curriculum document - Te Whaariki.

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