Whanganui East Kindergarten is turning 60 years old, and they have the newspaper clippings to prove it.

On Saturday, September 13, 1958, the local MP, JBF Cotterill, a member of the first Labour Government, performed the opening honours in a ceremony also attended by representatives from the builders, Emmetts, architect L Barsanti, Deputy Mayor EJ Crotty, Mayor and Mayoress Mr and Mrs Millward, Mrs J Groshinski of the Free Kindergarten Association and association president Mrs J McFarland.
A photograph shows an abundance of then-fashionable hats in the large crowd.

The Wanganui East Free Kindergarten opened in 1949 using the All Saints Church hall as premises.
The 1958 building, erected on the corner of Nile and Kawakawa streets, backs on to the Matarawa Stream.
Architect L Barsanti, who also designed the Aramoho Kindergarten, prepared the plans for both structures for free.
Public fundraising ventures assisted by Government enabled the Wanganui East Kindergarten to be built at a cost of 5000 pounds.

To celebrate 60 years, the kindergarten is holding a low-key event on Thursday, September 13, an afternoon tea at 1.30pm, to which past teachers, committee and board members are invited.
Head teacher Anne Minifie says they still use the original building, to which a matching veranda was added a few years ago. The interior has changed a great deal, along with teaching practices and health and safety considerations. Some of the original play equipment — such as a concrete pool complete with slide — has been removed.


The kindergarten grounds have grown since 1958, when the committee applied to council to appropriate a piece of land which once led to a long-gone bridge over the Matarawa Stream.
"The stream is very much part of our playground because we get the pukeko and ducklings … we're quite lucky," says Anne.
There's a flourishing pohutukawa tree in the grounds that Anne remembers planting with the committee at the kindergarten's 30th celebrations.
All the children on the roll will receive 60th anniversary badges as mementos.