A life in the world of ed­u­ca­tion


If you are look­ing for an ex­pert in early ed­u­ca­tion, meet An­nette Gold­ing, who has ed­u­ca­tion cours­ing through her 93-year-old veins.

She may not have been in a pre-school en­vi­ron­ment for more than 30 years, but An­nette’s fam­ily is syn­ony­mous with ed­u­ca­tion in Ran­giora.

Her mother set up the very first nurs­ery in the district — one of the first two in New Zealand — and Ran­giora’s Gold­ing Ave is named af­ter her fam­ily.

Her grand­fa­ther built the bowl­ing pavil­ion and her fa­ther ran the lo­cal hard­ware store for many years.

The nurs­ery, on the Ran­giora High School site, was set up by her mother in 1938, aided by a child psy­chol­o­gist from the UK who was also in­stru­men­tal in its suc­cess.

‘‘My mother, hav­ing come over from Syd­ney, had to find her­self some­thing to do,’’ Gold­ing ex­plained.

‘‘In those days the coun­try peo­ple would come to town on sale day and needed to leave their chil­dren in a safe place.

‘‘My mother had a lot of skills and it was a very good scheme, she kept it go­ing for 25 years.’’

Hav­ing started out at the on­set of the war, Gold­ing re­mem­bers her mother hav­ing to beg, bor­row and vir­tu­ally steal to get toys for the chil­dren to play with.

As a high school stu­dent, Gold­ing spent one day a week at the nurs­ery with the chil­dren where she learned the ropes. Be­ing at­tached to the high school, the older stu­dents were also able to prac­tise their food prepa­ra­tion skills on the toddlers.

Gold­ing be­gan her ca­reer in phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion, spe­cial­is­ing in move­ment and dance. She went on to work for the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion as a schools’ in­spec­tor, as well as teach­ing pre-school teach­ers in the 1950s.

As some­thing of a lo­cal ed­u­ca­tion celebrity, she was asked to cut the cake for Wood­end’s Acorn Preschool which cel­e­brated its fifth birth­day last month.

It was the first time she had set foot in an early-child­hood cen­tre since re­tir­ing 33 years ago and said tech­nol­ogy had made an in­cred­i­ble dif­fer­ence to the sys­tem.

‘‘I re­mem­ber my mother used to type up a weekly news­let­ter with a recipe on it.

‘‘It’s amaz­ing to see the ad­vances in so­ci­ety with pho­tog­ra­phy, iphones and com­put­ers, and I love the way all the chil­dren have their own per­sonal books now.’’


An­nette Gold­ing, 93, cuts the cake for Acorn Early Child­care in Wood­end.

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