Mr Laurie Hall (seen above with his wife, Helen) had been Chairman of the original establishment committee in 1974. Together, they had the honour of opening the new facility once it was completed in 1982. Tracey Hall, the couple’s daughter would later become a teacher at Kidsfirst Karoro and continue the family connection.
“My association with kindergarten goes back three generations, starting with my father on the establishment committee,” explains Tracey Hall. “Then I was a kindy kid, and my children have gone there too.”
“I’ve had so many great experiences as a kindergarten teacher. Each day, I gain a deeper insight into how complex and challenging children’s thinking is. Kindergarten has always been a place where people know they can come and get support and feel welcome. It’s somewhere safe to be in times of trouble, and children just know it’s a good place to be.”
This was never more true than with the tragedy of the Pike River mining disaster, when kindergartens once again found themselves at the hub of their neighbourhoods and a place where people came together.
Like many of our kindergartens, Karoro faced a tough road before it was even open. Kindergartens had to be funded for by the community before they could be established and committees often had a hard time rallying the community around kindergarten.
For Karoro, it wasn’t until the site at 20 Loris Place had been inspected and purchased, that community support began to flood in.
By opening day, Karoro had a special place in the community. New trees were planted to mark the kindergarten opening as well as some fun competitions for the whole crowd. Bun catching, a decorated bike parade and a three legged race all made for a joyous first day at the new kindergarten site.
Head Teacher, Miss Christine Cogger (above left) and her assistant Miss Rowena Newlove (above right) were the first to teach the children of Karoro Kindergarten.
Like many of our teachers today, it was their commitment to quality early childhood education and their passion for enriching young children’s lives that saw Karoro Kindergarten’s roll boom and kindy become a firm kiwi kid experience on the West Coast.