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Our Past and Progress

The story of Woodlands Park Community Kindergarten

Orignially started by a group of three local mothers in March 1966, the Woodlands Park Preschool Club was formed as a place for local parents to socialise and play with their preschoolers. With equipment acquired from the local schools, donations and raffle proceeds, the group met weekly in the Woodlands Park Hall at 22A Minnehaha Avenue .

All the mothers shared supervisory capacities until a licence was granted and the first Centre Manager was employed in 1974. The 'Band of Helpers' became rostered 'Mother's Helpers'; an initiative that continues today with our 'Parent Help' roster.

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As the Hall was designated a War Memorial Hall, it was not possible for the Centre to obtain a permanent lease for the building and they shared the hall with many other groups – indoor bowls, Brownies, Keas, clog dancers and drama classes – as well as the Woodlands Park Library in what is now the downstairs storage area. On the weekend the Hall catered for social occasions and parties.

By 1975, the need for improved childcare initiated a series of changes in Early Childhood settings. The Centre employed their first qualified Teacher, a sandpit was built, outdoor equipment was established, a syllabus planned and soon, with building escalating in the area, the Centre opened for four sessions, with two parent helpers and 24 children in each session. A year later another teacher was employed.

In 1979 the space previously reserved for the Ratepayers Association became the Centre's office, with large windows installed and a phone line connected. That year the Centre became Woodlands Park Community Kindergarten, the first non-state kindergarten in Auckland, when it acquired state funding.

By 1986 the whole childcare sector was taken under the umbrella of the Education Department. Our kindy found themselves at the forefront of these changes.

With ever increasing numbers, the kindy expanded again to employ two teacher assistants and start afternoon sessions.

In 1987 the humble pre-school club started by three mothers, celebrated 21 years.

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Finally in 1988 the Kindy became the only remaining hall user and took on the role of custodian. A long sought after lease became a possibility. The hall underwent major restructuring to meet the regulations governing childcare centres to comply with funding.

Our kindy was now an incorporated society with a constitution, a charter, well established sessions with permanent teachers and enthusiastic relievers, and a devoted committee of parents.

Many major projects over the years have seen the entire refurbishment of the playgroud in accordance with Government regulations, teaching staff acquiring Early Childhood Education qualifications, formal establishment of the parent Management Board, and a library of policies to comply with Government legislation. It all started with a humble idea of three mothers over 50 years ago.

Kindergarten Nostalgia: Moments from the Past
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