Raglan Kindergarten celebrates milestone birthday

Raglan Kindergarten celebrates 40 years with the Waikato Kindergarten Association this year but they’ve been in the business of educating young minds for a lot longer.

Head teacher Isabel Crawforth says the community celebration on Friday, May 24 at 4pm only tells part of a story more than 60 years in the making.

“We might look 40 but we’re actually 62 years old,” she jokes.

Isabel believes the decision to join the kindergarten association in 1979 was most likely based on the level of support, both financially and professionally, offered by the association.

Looking back over the minutes from the earliest days in Raglan Kindergarten’s life show the first meeting held in November 1956 at the Union Church Hall on Stewart St sowed the seed for one of the very first formal early childhood education centres in Raglan.

With only 12 parents in attendance at the meeting it was decided that there was more support in the community and an election was held to appoint office holders.

There was some dispute over the name with Raglan Private Kindergarten being the first name offered but this was changed to Raglan Kindergarten as the attendees thought the word ‘private’ might send the wrong message.

Raglan Kindergarten opened its door in February 1957 at the Union Church Hall with a head teacher, Mrs Friar, 19 children and room for five more. It cost one pound a term to attend and teacher’s wages were six pounds a month.

“When I look back through the minutes, I’m really struck by the number of family names who were involved back then and are still acitve in our community. It also seems that it was mostly women who were involved in this community organisation,” Isabel says.

“These days, Dads are so much more involved in their children’s early years.”

Throughout the minutes there is also a roll call of familiar names that Isabel says have either recently been involved or are still involved with the kindergarten.

“The ongoing support for the kindergarten from the Raglan community is quite incredible and looking through the minutes it’s no wonder why. Everyone seems to have had some sort of relationship with us over the years,” she says.

Past, present and future members of the Raglan Kindergarten community are invited to attend the celebration on Friday, May 24 at 4pm at 9 Stewart St. Please register by phoning 078258674, email raglan@kindergarten.org.nz or find the event on Facebook.

Janine Jackson