Rutherford Street Kindergarten deputy board chair Penny Scott (left) is with Bella Musselly (4), Malakai Simmons (5), Tommy Fletcher (4), Tristan Walker (4), Neve Thompson (4) and head teacher Mary Davies at their new site at 233 Rutherford St. Photo: Kate Russell.

Kindy moves closer to new home

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It’s taking a community to re-build one of Nelson’s oldest kindergartens.

After 56 years at their current site, Rutherford Street Kindergarten is slowly but surely on the move, thanks to the dedication of a group of passionate teachers and parents.

The kindergarten was forced to search for a new site last year, due to their landlord deciding to develop the area.

And they happened to find one – just 200m up the road at the former Rutherford St Chapel, which the children refer to as “new kindy”.

The kindergarten’s deputy board chair, Penny Scott, says they are hoping to be settled in at their new destination by May/June – but the not-for-profit, parent-led team needs just a bit more help to get there.

“We’ve got resource consent and building consent – now it’s about making it all happen,” she says.

“Although we’ve had incredible support already from our families and teachers, we still need donations of resources and for the wider community to help pitch in with our working bees.”

They will be taking as much of their existing equipment as possible but still need couches, chairs, whiteware, a microwave, bark, sand and plants for the playground and framing materials for planter boxes.

They have already been lucky enough to secure former Nelson Tasman Kindergarten CEO Wendy Logan to oversee the project and have already had donations from some local businesses and secured several grants.

Penny says that work is about to start on the new playground, fences, and verandah, and they plan to have working bees to fill in the soft elements.

“We have already done lots of building and renovation work inside, and we are looking forward to seeing the new flooring laid soon, which will cap it all off.”

“It has been a huge amount of work, it will be so great to see it all come together.”

The bigger location will open up space for new enrolments, with the ability to increase from the current 27 children to 32.

They also plan to have an open day once they move, so the community can look at their new location.

“We’re a community-based kindergarten, which makes us quite special and unique – and that’s how we’ll remain,” says Penny.

“We will be sad to leave our current location, which has seen so many Nelson families come through, but we are very excited about our new future.”

If you can help with donations or working bees for Rutherford Street Kindergarten’s move, contact Mary Davies on 548 9239 or rutherfordst.kindy@xtra.co.nz