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 up 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!
Building on over 100 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