History

North Hamilton Kindergarten

1951

In January,1951, the residents of North Hamilton decided to go ahead with plans to open a play centre in the North Hamilton Public Hall. An active committee was formed so that all requirements for such a centre could be met as soon as possible. The two established centres offered their willing support and reminded this new committee that the Government grant was still not sufficient to cover salaries of the leader and buy equipment.

The local paper kept the public aware of the preschool activities in the city and the money raising efforts that parents were constantly involved in. As one hard working member said “We seemed to be constantly asking the people of Hamilton to put their hands in their pockets but the importance of early childhood experiences kept us doing so.

In 1952 the North Hamilton Preschool centre opened with Miss Doris Fyfe as the leader. They operated under the same conditions as Patterson Park as the Hall was used by a number of clubs. The equipment had to be stored on the stage at the end of the day and brought down again to be set up in the morning. The hand basins and kitchen sink were also upstairs in a small room at the back of the stage. The toilets were outside an unsewered. When children needed to go to the toilet, an adult had to go with them as the windows in the hall were so high up it was impossible to see out of them. An umbrella was kept at the door for rainy days or when the magpies were nesting and swooping on anyone who went to the toilet. Heating was one small electric heater connected to the one available power point. Equipment, book and records were very limited. In 1955 the North Hamilton Play Centre became known as the North Hamilton Kindergarten and the salary of the trained teacher was wholly subsidised by the Government. The parents now felt that at last they could form a building committee with the hope of one day having a new preschool centre at North Hamilton.

1960’s

In the early 1960’s Mitchell Park and the North Hamilton parents continued to put aside money in their building funds and the North Hamilton parents had purchased a block of land at 134 Coleraine Road.

In 1965, the Mayor convened a meeting to form the North Hamilton Building Committee and in 1966 the new building was commenced. The North Hamilton parented formed a co-operative and the difference in the money on hand and the actual cost of the building was gained by selling 20cent shares offering share holders double their money back at the end of 10 years.

In Feb 1967, Kindergarten sessions commenced in the new building. There was no money for new equipment but all the furniture had been repainted and new dolls clothes and blankets were made. The fathers spent many hours working in the grounds building a storage shed, a sand pit , resetting climbing frames and swings and planting lawns so that the children could use the building at the start of term.

A committee undertook to pay off the loan on the building and were committed to find $660 for the next ten years over and above the normal running costs. The North Hamilton parents invited Dr. Rouch to officially open the new building at a gala day on April 22nd 1967.

Mitchell Park building was now complete so Dr Rouch was asked to open their kindergarten on the same day.

The Lions Club of Hamilton showed their support for these people of these two centres who were seeing the results of many years of work finally achieved by donating new equipment to each centre. There were now four preschool centres operating in Hamilton with capacity enrolment and waiting lists.

1970’s

In 1974 the government grant was raised to cover both the teacher and the assistant. Parents were now able to employ full time assistants and there was money to buy new equipment and to provide such amenities as refrigerators, record players, stoves and pianos.

In 1975 the parents of North Hamilton Kindergarten accepted the offer of the Aboriginal Affairs Department to place a second assistant at the kindergarten. Mitchell Park, God Shepherd and North Hamilton commenced three year old sessions in 1977 with another teacher and assistant working in cooperation with the full time teachers and assistants working with the four year old children.

The same year, $2600 grant was paid to each full time operating kindergarten. The Hamilton City Council continued to administrate the kindergarten salaries and the subsidy at no cost to the parents and this was greatly appreciated.

The same year North Hamilton Kindergarten parents submitted a detailed plan for an office extension and the re-siting of the sandpit. The Health Commission passed these and the building proceeded by contract and was opened in June 1977. The sand pit was re-sited and designed by voluntary labour and paid for by committee funds.”

(The above information was quoted directly from an article written by Mrs Nancy MacDonald in November 1981. Mrs Nancy MacDonald was the teacher and Director of North Hamilton Kindergarten from 1963-1987)

Beyond

Since that time the Committee of Management at North Hamilton Kindergarten have undertaken many upgrades and renovations to both the indoor and outdoor environment, including a new kitchen, new mobile shelving and other indoor equipment, a wooden fort structure, a new cubby house and various shade structures to protect the children from the sun. The kindergarten is currently extending the building to incorporate a foyer and a large multipurpose room.

NHK Parent Handbook