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    CELEBRATION CREATION: From left, Horsham Bennett Road Kindergarten’s Ebony Baker, 5, Veronica Priestley, 3, and Ryan Ballinger, 5, get creative with a birthday banner for their kindergarten’s 60th anniversary party on Friday. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

Celebrating 60 years at Bennett Road


Horsham’s Bennett Road Kindergarten staff and children will celebrate the centre’s 60th birthday on Friday, but it is a place that will never truly grow old.

In fact, long-time teacher Madelaine Deckert said she could have an imaginary cup of tea with the children one million times over and it would still warm her heart.

Mrs Deckert has taught children at the Bennett Road centre, part of Horsham Racecourse, for the past 17 years.

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She is one of many people who have built up a bank of memories at the kindergarten, and one of many who will also join the 60th anniversary party from 3.30pm to 5.30pm.

Kindergarten secretary Fiona Rowe said anyone who had a connection to the centre was welcome to attend to celebrate the milestone.

“It’s a huge accomplishment. The kindergarten has been a great lead into developing children’s skills ready for school,” she said.

Mrs Deckert said Bennett Road Kindergarten was the second kindergarten to open in Horsham. 

She said the children’s hub officially opened on November 15, 1959, to sessional kindergarten, offering morning or afternoon sessions for four year olds.

“There were full enrolments of 40 children who came over the different times,” she said.

“In the early days, the now small office was the maternal and child health centre where mums could drop off their kinder-age child and come and talk to the health nurse.”

Mrs Deckert said Julie Crow taught four-year-old sessions in the early 1980s, spending many of her years at the kindergarten before retiring in 2000.

She said Nicole Otto filled Mrs Crow’s place, before Mrs Deckert herself became the teacher from 2002 onwards.

She said while many changes had occurred across the kindergarten’s 60-year history, including a new kitchen and bathroom in 2015, it was great to have the support of the community, council and committee.

“We will be here long into the future,” she said.

The entire November 13, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!