Kiama Community Preschool turns 50

Lindy Verryt has been an educator at Kiama Community Preschool for 36 years. She taught the parents of some of her current charges - featured here on the preschool's wallk of fame.
Lindy Verryt has been an educator at Kiama Community Preschool for 36 years. She taught the parents of some of her current charges - featured here on the preschool's wallk of fame.

Kiama Community Preschool has seen generations come and go - now it's calling one and all back into the fold for its 50th birthday celebrations.

In 1968 a group of mums came together to brainstorm a childcare solution so they could return to work, which was an unusual ambition at the time.

Initially they were allowed to use the old hall at the Anglican Church to start a small preschool, but they hoped for a purpose-built space.

Crown Land was put aside for the purpose, and frantic fundraising began, but there was slow progress.

Until a mystery donor provided the funds needed to build. The building that houses the preschool today was finished in 1974.

Fifty years later, the preschool is still community-owned and thriving - and the donor is still out there, although their identity remains a mystery.

"The person has found out we are celebrating and has written a reflection on the 50 years, which is really lovely," said early childhood teacher Naomi Gates.

"They've also sent in some other memorabilia, which we will include in the history books we're making."

Ms Gates herself was one of the first children to attend preschool in the current building, and has been an educator there for the past 16 years.

She said she was most excited about her teacher attending - and remembering her.

Ms Gates encouraged anyone with a connection to the preschool to join the celebrations on Saturday, November 30, and bring along any photos or memorabilia they might have to include in the history books.

"One book is going to be all class photos - we've got most of them, but there are still a few of the early years missing," she said.

A scanner will be at the preschool to copy any photos or drawings brought in. The event will kick off at 3pm and run until 6pm, with music provided by former students.

Maybe the mystery donor who made it all possible will be there too.