It’s taken three years, but Rutherford St Kindergarten finally has a new home.
The not-for-profit, community-based early childhood centre has moved 200m up the road from their old home at Unite Church, to the former Rutherford St Chapel.
Monday marked their first “official” day in the new building, which was formally opened on Tuesday night.
The kindergarten was forced to search for a new site in 2016, with their landlord wanting to redevelop the land.
Manager and head teacher Mary Davies says it’s been a long process but it’s been “worth it”, with the new site providing much more space, sun and room for growth.
“It’s a fantastic space and the bigger location will also allow us to increase our enrolments from 27 children to 32.”
She says the children are chuffed with the new set-up too, which is complete with a slide, sandpit, playground, spacious indoor area and the familiar mural from “old kindy”.
Mary credits the children being so settled in the new environment to involving them in the whole process. “We visited often and incorporated their ideas into the new space, which has helped them to settle instantly.”
Rutherford St Kindergarten is one of Nelson’s oldest early childhood institutions and had been at their previous site since 1961.
Mary says the move was “colossal” but achievable, thanks to some very dedicated board members, and the community, who rallied behind them with donations, manpower and support.
“We’ve had lots of resources donated to us, such as whiteware, tables, chairs, a microwave, a kitchen set and carpet. It’s been fantastic.”
They have also had plenty of help from local businesses offering their services for free or at a heavily discounted rate, and community workers helping with the landscaping.
“We couldn’t have done this without the community’s help.”