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Traditional Kindergartens Set To "Morph"

08 October 2008 For immediate release

Traditional Kindergartens Set To "Morph"

Auckland Kindergarten Association 100 years old today: says traditional kindergarten set to 'morp' into variety of different approaches

One hundred years to the day since the Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA) was established its President Jeremy Drummond says the traditional kindergarten model of the past century is set 'to become a range of different models'.

On a day when 450 were to gather for a 'centennial celebration' (at the Alexandra Park Function Centre, 4pm 7pm) Mrs Drummond said the ethnic diversity of many Auckland kindergartens would have been 'unimaginable' when the AKA was inaugurated on 08 October 1908.

The early Auckland kindergartens were mono-cultural, she said, 'while today 87% have seven or more languages spoken, and some have up to 35'.

The traditional kindergarten of the past 100 years, with morning and afternoon sessions, was set to 'morph' into a variety of models tailored to meet the different needs of different families, Mrs Drummond said.

'We already have kindergartens focussed on the needs of ethnically diverse communities. We already have three all-day "KINZ" centres for all kinds of parents with paid employment. And we will soon be creating "school-day" centres that offer 9 to 3 education and care alongside our traditional morning and afternoon sessions.'

Mrs Drummond said the association would retain the traditional sessional model where that was what families needed. But it was likely a range of new models would evolve in the coming years.

Those who started the AKA in 1908 had been determined to serve the needs of what they called 'the slum population of Auckland', she said.

That was why they built the first kindergarten in Freemans Bay, then one of the poorest parts of the city. And for 100 years the AKA had never turned away a child because parents could not afford to pay a donation.

Mrs Drummond said the AKA was 'a tough little organization' that had educated many hundreds of thousands of Aucklanders.

It had started with 60 children in a single kindergarten, but was today the largest pre-tertiary education provider in New Zealand, educating 14,000 a year in 107 kindergartens and three all-day KINZ centres.

The AKA was confident of its survival were the current financial crisis to turn into the depression that some were fearing, she said.

It had already weathered a world depression, two world wars, kindergarten closures due to flu, measles and whooping cough epidemics, and periods when government subsidies has been withdrawn completely. And it was likely be around to complete a second century in 2108.


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