A new beginning for kindergarten.
Shirley Kindergarten opened on the 21st of May 1956.
The baby boom was influential on the founding of what would become Kidsfirst Shirley.
Following the struggles of the war years, society had a new found optimism in the 1950s and settled happily into a surburan lifestyle that seemed a uptopia after the sacrifices and rationing of World War II.
The quote below is from Rene Wilkie in the 1944 Christchurch Kindergarten Chronicle and details this change in attitude as New Zealand entered the 1950s.
"As we enter 1945, the war news seems to give indications of the possibility of peace in Europe in the not-so-far distant future. So it is with optimism and trust that we look forward to a constructive year in our chosen work with little children."
Kidsfirst Shirley, and other kindergartens at the time, were founded on the back of this increased optimism and part of the forward looking plan for not only children and early education but a larger plan for a peaceful society as well.
In that same Chronicle, Rene Wilkie pondered on the War if only kindergarten had spread through Europe - we wonder how different the history books would read!
"If Hitler had gone to Kindergarten - if he and his like had absorbed the Kindergarten atmosphere of comradeship and friendliness in their formative years - this war of cruel aggression would never have come to pass."
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.