Our oldest kindergarten is Sunbeam.
Sunbeam Kindergarten opened on the 25th of September 1911. At that time, it was stated that no gift could be more fitting at the coronation of King George V and Queen Mary, than one which would benefit scores of little children.
Miss Helena Hull was the Principal of Sunbeam and headed the Student Training Programme at the kindergarten. Her tenure lasted 25 years with the Association, and she remains one of the most vibrant voices from our past.
Helena Hull would write "A message to parents" in the Kindergarten Chronicle of 1945 saying...
"Though many years have passed since I retired from Kindergarten work, yet, I can sincerely say my thoughts are frequently with the mothers whose children attend Kindergarten.
... You are indeed fortunate in that you are able to send your children to a Kindergarten where you know they will be well trained in that little world of their own under teachers who have studied the child mind, and understand them."
As part of the celebrations of our 50th anniversary in 1961, the original Sunbeam Kindergarten building was replaced and reopened at the hour of the first meeting called half a century later.
Teacher Janet Wills remembers, as a child, the excitement of attending Sunbeam Kindergarten in the new building. She recalls that when her parents told her to get ready for kindergarten the following day, she asked why - she didn't see the point because she'd played with everything the day before!
Above are images of our kindergarten as it was in 1982/3. We're not sure where the little boy with the suitcase is intent on going!
“Although Sunbeam is the oldest Christchurch Kindergarten, it is a bright and sunny spot, where one may find busy little housekeepers, gardeners, carpenters, artists, or musicians.”
Hazel Gorrie, Director, Christchurch Kindergarten Chronicle, 1938.
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.