Raise £500 pounds, source a piano: Katherine South Preschool celebrates 60 years
In 1959 two women living in the local area determined that the small Northern Territory town of Katherine was big enough for a preschool, approached the NT Administrator who agreed on the condition that they could raise £500 pounds, find a piano, and ensure that a certain number of First Nations children attended.
On Sunday 10 November teachers, current students, parents and preschool alumni gathered at the preschool for a birthday celebration which included tree planting, speeches, and of course, cake.
One former student, now an adult, spoke about the support her preschool had given her. It was there, she said, that she met her lifelong best friend, and overcome her challenges in speech.
Another student, artist Danny Murphy, attended the preschool in 1968, and told The Katherine Times that it was a surreal experience to be back to celebrate 60 years of growth. He believes his passion for art stems from his strong memories of painting and games at preschool, where there was “a lot of focus on playing and enjoyment”.
Mr Murphy donated a Tamarind tree to mark the occasion, which was planted by the preschool’s longest serving teacher’s assistant Robyn Morris, who has worked at the preschool for 35 years.
“I am teaching the children of children who came here, and my grandchildren also attend the school. It has been amazing to watch them all grow and I love seeing how they turn out in their adult years,” Ms Morris said.
One of the many changes she has observed over the years has been the introduction of greater regulation to the sector, something she describes as “much more rigid” than in previous years.
Local Principal Karen Taylor said Katherine South Preschool was a space where children received a great start to their education, and commenced the journey to a lifelong love of learning.
“With such a strong and proud history, strong community spirit and a committed and passionate staff, our future is bright” she concluded.