Kidsfirst Shirley had a fantastic 60th birthday bash, with colourful balloons, face painting, a rainbow bouncy castle, party food to share and 60 candles atop a chocolate cake…
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The kindergarten had extended a warm welcome to past and present children, parents, teachers (or anyone interested) to come along to celebrate with a spring Saturday afternoon tea.
Kidsfirst Shirley officially opened 60 years ago, on September 24 1956. Back in those days it operated at the Shirley Methodist Church hall, before a kindergarten was built on a section of land donated by Rowe farm (a piggery), when the estate was sold off and developed.
Among the celebratory 60th birthday crowd was Fay Johnson - someone who has some really special links to this community. She used to attend the centre as a young girl, trained to be a kindergarten teacher there and her mother, Betty, was on the establishment committee.
“Fay was the oldest pupil we knew so we invited her to cut the cake with three year-old Sandi Buwanayake Sittarage – currently our youngest child,” says Head Teacher, Janette Bowen.
It was a wonderful afternoon with many past pupils joining in the fun. There was also a photo board ‘through the years’ that created lots of interest and prompted plenty of discussion from the visitors.
“The kindergarten has had its ups and downs with rolls dropping after the earthquake but is now in a really healthy position thanks to this kind of continued great community support and spirit,” adds Janette.
“We also took the opportunity to have Rotary officially open our fantastic new playground wharenui, as the organisation had made a donation towards its cost.”
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.