We have many amazing images of Phillipstown Kindergarten in the early days, from around the 1920s as well as some lovely anecdotes of kindergarten from early Chronicles.
From the 1933 publication celebrating Sydenham Kindergarten’s 21st birthday, this extract…
“Phillipstown, opened shortly after, was conducted with much discomfort, first in one rented hall, then in another. After seven years, sometimes with seventy children on the roll, the Association was determined to build. The local committee was, for the time, merged into the Association and members of three local committees all strove to raise the necessary funds. A fine section of land, already planted with shelter trees, was purchased. In 1919, the new school was opened. Mr G. M Penlington, architect to the Christchurch Board of Education, rendered great assistance in preparing plans and supervising the building during construction. The school flourishes under a good committee. Phillipstown will always stand as a memorial to Mrs Taylor’s practical interest in the little ones.”
“The grounds are now in order, border gay with flowers, lawn neat and trim.” – Phillipstown School, Annual Report and Balance Sheet 1920 – 1921
Below is an extract from Childhood’s Garden: Tiny Folks’ work and play at Phillipstown Kindergarten.
“Dot thought it was the most wonderful thing in the world to belong to the Phillipstown Kindergarten and have a birthday.
So it was; for Dot was six years old and had been crowned queen of the day at her school. She wore a brand new frock of periwinkle blue to match her frank eyes, and a little circlet of blue and silver on her hair. She has scarcely slept last night, for she had never been six years old before, and there was her birthday cake in the pantry and her blue frock hanging behind the door.
She sat in the birthday chair, specially kept for these state occasions, while the other little people of the kindergarten sang the birthday hymn; happy, happy birthday, happy year begun, God who gives us birthdays knows them every one. God is kind and loving, he is sure to hear, so we ask his blessing for another year.
Nearly an acre of ground surrounds the building, most of it given up to well-kept lawn whereon little people may disport themselves to their heart’s content. The large assembly room is like a sun porch on gigantic lines, for the front of it, sheltered from winds by abutting classrooms, is wide open to the sun and the back and side made up chiefly of window so made that they open above the heads of the children and prevent all draughts.
This room is a cheerful place and bright. It is inset round the walls with green drawing boards whereon the budding artists of the coming generation create in coloured chalks wonderful ships sailing on pea-green seas, lion-like dogs of fearsome proportions and birds the like of which never saw the light of day. Sometimes the results are marvellously true to life and show considerable talent.” – November 8 1923
“If you come and visit us, who knows, we might give you a ride in our wonderful new train – donated by Calder Mackay’s at the close of the Centennial celebrations! Truly a magnificent “Choo Choo!” It seems likely that all our boys and not a few of the girls will want to be engine drivers when they grow up!” – Phillipstown Kindergarten, 1951 Kindergarten Chronicle.
Tamariki at Phillipstown celebrate an outdoor lunchtime in the kindergarten’s well-known backyard, date unknown.
Though the interior has changed and developed over the years, Kidsfirst Phillipstown is still located in the kindergarten’s original building on Saint Asaph Street.