Brunswick Kindergarten: Cheers to 100 years!
The Sector > Provider > General News > Brunswick Kindergarten celebrates a centenary of education and care

Brunswick Kindergarten celebrates a centenary of education and care

by Freya Lucas

June 07, 2024

Early childhood education and care service Brunswick Kindergarten opened its doors in June 1924, celebrating its centenary with a special celebration earlier this week, with children dressing up as 100 year old people and sharing a birthday cake with Northern Metropolitan MP Sheena Watt. 


Dawn Waight was one of the most esteemed guests at the celebration. She grew up, and continues to live, on Glenlyon Road (where the kinder is located), and attended the service there in 1959.


Her husband John was a pre-schooler at the same kinder in 1957 and their daughter, Sarah, attended in 1988. They also believe that John’s mother attended in the late-1920s. 


Mrs Waight also worked at the service as an early childhood assistant teacher from 1988 to 2005. 


It’s these types of stories that demonstrate the community feel of the service, director  Elisa Brasher explained, one which is just as strong today as it was 100 years ago, when the doors were first opened.


The not-for-profit co-operative sits “smack in the middle of Brunswick” and educates and cares for 122 children, a big change from the first days of the kindergarten, where just 18 children were enrolled. 


In those days, pre-school education was primarily provided by churches, or occasionally by charities. The Brunswick Free Kindergarten — as it was called back then — was neither of those, which made it a novelty at the time, local news source Brunswick Voice shared


The seeds of the service were sown in August 1923 when the principal of Brunswick Central Primary School (no longer in existence) in Albert Street approached the Brunswick Council about the need for a free kindergarten to prepare children for primary school. 


By autumn 1924 the council obtained a £100 donation from the Felton Bequest and secured a room in the Church of Christ building in Glenlyon Road and the kindergarten was able to open its doors to 18 children on June 1, 1924, with the official opening taking place on June 25. 


In just two short years the service had grown exponentially, with 80 children seeking care. A neihbouring property was purchased and was quickly repurposed to cater for the demand. 


The kindergarten has continued in those two connected buildings ever since, surviving the Great Depression, the Second World War, and the COVID-19 pandemic, with the only closure coming from August 1937 to April 1938, when polio was rife. 


“It’s a kinder that has been created by so many hearts and it continues to have a rich tapestry of parental involvement, a real community spirit. And there’s a real true sense of loyalty to the kinder,” Ms Brasher said. 


“It’s a beautiful kinder, it’s old, we love it, and it’s here to stay.” 


The Sector extends congratulations to Brunswick Kindergarten on this significant milestone. Access the Brunswick Voice coverage of this story here

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