It was a long time coming...
It took 8 years of hard work, but Karoro Kindergarten officially opened on the 8th of February 1982.
Although it started with only 12 children, the roll climbed steadily to 36 children by the official opening and since then, the kindergarten has been a central part of the Karoro community.
Mr Laurie Hall (seen above with his wife, Helen) had been Chairman of the original establishment committee in 1974. Together, they had the honour of opening the new facility once it was completed in 1982. Tracey Hall, the couple’s daughter would later become a teacher at Kidsfirst Karoro and continue the family connection.
"My association with kindergarten goes back three generations, starting with my father on the establishment committee," explains Tracey Hall. "Then I was a kindy kid, and my children have gone there too."
This was never more true than with the tragedy of the Pike Creek mining disaster, when kindergartens once again found themselves at the hub of their neighbourhoods and a place where people came together.
Like many of our kindergartens, Karoro Kindergarten faced a tough road before it was even open. Kindergartens had to be funded for by the community before they could be established and committees often had a hard time rallying the community around kindergarten.
For Karoro, it wasn't until the site at 20 Loris Place had been inspected and purchased, that community support began to flood in.
By opening day, Karoro had a special place in the community. New trees were planted to mark the kindergarten opening as well as some fun competitions for the whole crowd. Bun catching, a decorated bike parade and a three legged race all made for a joyous first day at the new kindergarten site.
Head Teacher, Miss Christine Cogger (above left) and her assistant Miss Rowena Newlove (above right) were the first to teach the children of Karoro Kindergarten.
Like many of our teachers today, it was their commitment to quality early childhood education and their passion for enriching young children's lives that saw Karoro Kindergarten's roll boom and kindy become a firm kiwi kid experience on the West Coast.
Our website uses material from the Canterbury Westland Kindergarten Association's own archives, Kindergarten Chronicles and other CWFKA publications, and those sourced from the kindys themselves. Unless otherwise noted, we believe all photographs are those of the kindergarten association and sincerely apologise if we have used any images inadvertently, without appropriate credits or permissions. If so, please advise us so we can rectify the situation.
KIDSFIRST KINDERGARTENS ARE A NOT FOR PROFIT ASSOCIATION THAT HAS DEVELOPED AND MAINTAINED KINDERGARTENS IN CHRISTCHURCH, CANTERBURY AND ON THE WEST COAST FOR OVER 100 YEARS - AS THE PLACE LOCAL KIDS COME TO LEARN, PLAY AND HAVE FUN.