A community favourite through generations.
Lyttelton Kindergarten opened in February 1958 and Head Teacher Liz Hinchey recalls the kindergarten when she took her first job there in 1972. Later she came full circle to return there in 1999, where she became Head Teacher.
Liz talks about Lyttelton Kindergarten in those early years...
“The kindergarten in the 1970s didn’t have a gate. Children used to come to and from kindergarten by themselves. Sometimes, the children would head home during session. We were down in a gully, and there were trees, and with the children being smaller, sometimes we didn’t see them leave the kindergarten. Parents would come to pick them up, and they’d already be at home."
“I remember in my third year of teaching, as a 21-year-old, we took the children to the wharf. We had a length of rope they held onto to walk down the hill. When we got to the wharf, the children were standing right on the edge – where nobody is allowed to go nowadays. We never lost anybody, and nobody minded that we were two young teachers taking out a group of 40 children. It’s so hugely different to that now.”
"Lyttelton was a port town back in the 70s, many of the children were cousins. It was like a farming community where everyone knew everyone. Now we have a multinational community, with children from families from Italy, Japan, as well as those generational ties, I’m teaching children of children I taught."
“One of the great things that we still have is the parent support. We don’t have as much as we used to, with more women in the workforce, but we still have dedicated parents that value kindergarten, and do what they can."
"In the early days our programme was a lot more teacher directed. The good thing now is it allows the child to have that input, and develop more of the strengths of an inquiring mind at an earlier age.”
“I’ve just turned 60 and I’m still teaching. I never thought I would be doing this still at my age. You never know what life holds. I still love it. I love the honesty of the children. I love the fact that they don’t judge and they are spontaneous. Being a kindergarten teacher has fitted in around me having children, and I feel lucky to be in a profession that could accommodate that. I think there’s a wisdom and a patience, and a bit more of a laid back approach in these years of your teaching, that a lot of children relate to. And lots of parents like that advice and wisdom you can give as an older teacher.”
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.