About us

Dunedin Kindergartens is the umbrella organisation for 24 individual kindergartens in the Dunedin area. We are a non-profit community based organisation governed by an elected Board. We belong to a national organisation New Zealand Kindergartens with whom we network and share national expertise. This national perspective is strength of the kindergarten movement.

Our Mission

Providing excellence in early childhood teaching and learning for all children

Our Vision

Together with parents, caregivers, whánau, community and beyond, Dunedin Kindergartens will provide excellence in the provision of early childhood teaching and learning as well as care for our children, who are the future of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Our Structure

Dunedin Kindergartens is governed by a Board who collaboratively use the knowledge and resources of the 24 kindergartens and their communities to deliver an educational service that we are proud of. The Board oversees the strategic direction and purpose of the association with teaching and learning as the core business, with the ultimate outcome for children. To contact the board chair, click here for details
Dunedin Kindergartens employs a General Manager to oversee the management of the service and act as licencee for all kindergartens. The Senior Teacher team provides teaching and curriculum support to the teaching staff, along with overseeing and facilitating professional learning. An administration team provides the business function of the organisation, supporting and managing the day-to-day structure activities for the organisation.
Each kindergarten has a team of teachers ranging from three to five, including a head teacher, whose responsibility is to ensure the delivery of teaching and learning that reflects the principles and strands of the curriculum document – Te Whaariki.

Our History

We are the original Pioneers of early childhood in Dunedin. The kindergarten movement began here in Dunedin in 1889 and we are proud to be the home of kindergarten in New Zealand. The first kindergarten opened on 10th June in the Mission Hall, Walker St (now Carroll St). Rev Rutherford Waddell, the Presbyterian minister, began planning an organisation to take children off the street in the very poor areas around his church. He asked the advice of Lavinia Kelsey, who had begun doing ‘something in the kindergarten way’ in her own private school, as well as that of Rachel Reynolds, a community leader who was concerned about the waifs of the notorious Walker St area, and Mark Cohen a social reformer interested in the Californian Free Kindergarten system. After a public meeting in March 1889, the Dunedin Free Kindergarten Association was set up with Rachel Reynolds as President and Lavinia Kelsey as the first honorary secretary. www.otago.ac.nz/education/otago045231.pdf
Five of our Kindergartens are named after people who believed in children and the Kindergarten movement. (Helen Deem, Jonathan Rhodes, Kelsey Yaralla, Rachel Reynolds and Richard Hudson Kindergartens). Dunedin Kindergarten’s Pioneers!
Building on over 100 years of tradition as leaders in the early childhood sector Dunedin Kindergartens prime focus is the children and their families.
Dunedin Kindergartens as an umbrella organisation will provide governance and management expertise to ensure excellence in teaching and learning for all children. This will be through the provision of professional leadership, the careful application of resources, and the development of policies and procedures in partnership with teachers, children, parents, whánau and beyond.

“For how the children grow, so shall be the shape of Aotearoa”
Dame Whina Cooper