1947 Christmas Party with teachers mothers and children, Logan Campbell Kindergarten, Auckland Kindergarten Association
Photos and documents associated with children and kindergarten activities tells the rich story of kindergarten in communities, including families whose role in earlier years was mainly ascribed through Mothers' Clubs and Fathers’ Club activities.

Kindergartens in communities

The earliest known photographic images of kindergarten children in New Zealand date from 1895 with two photos of Dunedin kindergarten children and their teachers in the Otago Witness, 19th December 1895. As more kindergartens were established in other locations and regions there were occasional photos in newspapers.  These photos are sometimes accompanied by an article or commentary promoting kindergarten. Most early photos are carefully staged, often with teachers and showcase kindergarten games and activities.

Photos occasionally include the families of kindergarten children. Mothers’ Club and Fathers’ Club activities were generally associated with fundraising or working bees.

The images are arranged across two broad eras and present collections of archival photos and sometimes documents usually associated with a particular kindergarten, event, or collection. Because of the rarity of photos, several small collections associated with Māori children at kindergarten from the 1960s are included separately. The photos are selective examples from available collections. From the 1930s, quality amateur photos are found in a few surviving photo albums usually compiled by individual kindergarten teachers.

Colour comes into play

From the 1960s teachers also collected more photos in albums, envelopes and boxes, many of which are still located in the cupboards of individual kindergartens. The images' quality has deteriorated, and there are many undocumented photo caches. Some professionally produced coloured slide collections from the 1970s used for training purposes provide the first glimpses of the colours of play. Over time we intend to include images from the digital age, when cameras are also in the hands of children.