St James kindy has proud history
St James Kindergarten is celebrating 100 years of education.
The Grey Lynn preschool is marking its centenary this weekend and the public is invited to join them.
Former teacher Judith Goldie, 72, first arrived at St James while training to be a teacher in 1959.
‘‘St James in those days I remember as being like a house with lots of different rooms and there were different activities in the rooms,’’ she says.
‘‘As teaching students we had to wear smocks which were bought from Smith & Caughey’s. And if we got paint on them it was there forever.’’
Ms Goldie, who still works as a relief teacher at the school, says she enjoyed her time at St James.
‘‘At lunchtime we sat around the table and a tablecloth was put on the table with a little vase of flowers.
‘‘I always remember that; that was quite a thing.’’
Opened in February 1913, St James is one of the oldest surviving kindergartens in Auckland.
It was the third kindergarten to be established by the Auckland Kindergarten Association and was initially housed in the St James Church hall in Wellington St.
It has been at its Home St address since 1924.
Throughout the years St James has received several awards.
In 2006, it became the first preschool to join the Enviroschools programme. Since then, it has reduced waste by 50 per cent through composting, worm farms and recycling.
The garden has been extensively developed and a wide variety of fruit and vegetables are grown, harvested and eaten by the children.
In 2007 the kindergarten was awarded a Silver Enviroschools Award and three years later it became the first Auckland preschool to gain a Green Gold Enviroschools Award.
Then in 2010 St James was also awarded an Auckland Regional Council Sustainability Award in the beyond recycling category.
St James Kindergarten opened with just two teachers and 16 children. Almost a century later 60 children attend the centre each day.
The kindergarten’s youngest student, Freya Anderson, 3, enjoys her time at the pre-school.
‘‘I like the toys and the swings,’’ she says.
Centenary celebrations will include a mosaic display created by the children based on what they think is special about St James today.
One of the parents has created a stone sculpture of a child’s head which will be mounted on a plinth and used as part of a time capsule.
Freelance historian and writer of upcoming book ‘A History of St James Kindergarten 1913-2013’, Tania Mace says: ‘‘It’s an oppor- tunity for people to see the kindergarten and those who have been here in the past can come back and see what it’s like now.’’
‘A History of St James Kindergarten 1913-2013’ will be on sale and available from the school later this month.
The open day and official ceremony is on Sunday between 11am and 2pm at St James Kindergarten, 25 Home St, Grey Lynn.
Centenary celebrations: Judith Goldie, 72, taught at St James Kindergarten in the 1950s while Freya Anderson, 3, is the newest and youngest student.
Former students: Don Baker, 81, and his sister Pat Walden, 88, both attended St James Kindergarten as small children in the 1920s and 1930s.
Children at St James Kindergarten in 1950s.