It all started back in 1910 when the fourth kindergarten in South Australia was opened in the Madge Church Hall in Halifax Street. Kindergartens in those days were a new and radical idea which were treated with some suspicion by the city’s poor, for whom they were established to help. The benefits of the idea soon caught on and the Halifax Street Free Kindergarten grew in leaps and bounds.
By 1924 the Church Hall had outlived its usefulness and the Committee was successful in securing a bequest of £2000 from the estate of the late Miss Alice Keith Sheridan, and a new building was planned. In 1925 the new premises were opened in Cairns Street and was the first purpose-built Kindergarten. Keith Sheridan Kindergarten was born.
With the advent of the Second World War, Keith Sheridan became one of two Centres to cater for the needs of children whose mothers were working for the war effort. The Centre was open from 7am until 7pm and all meals were provided.
In 1953 the Committee and the Kindergarten union arranged the purchase of a property at the rear of the Centre in Halifax Street and the land was used as a playground, and in 1972 the Kindergarten Union purchased a small cottage to the west of the Centre on Cairns Street and demolished it to give even more room. In this year, Lady Bonython resigned from the Committee after 59 years of service.
In 1983, a new building was opened facing on to Halifax Street. The 58-year-old two-storey building was demolished and a playground and garden established at the rear, backing onto Cairns Street.
The Centre continued its long tradition of providing a Kindergarten program and offering childcare for the over 2’s. The Centre was funded under the ‘Bowen’ formula which offered generous funding and was an Education Department managed site. From the beginning of 1997 the Centre became a community-managed service and a Management Committee was established to run the Centre. From this year the Centre offered care for under 2’s in new additions and alterations to the building.
From March 2000, the Centre continued to offer care and education services to the city’s community of residents and workers under the name of Halifax St Children’s Centre and Preschool. It is with pride that the current Management Committee and staff acknowledge the Centre’s history and the people who made it possible over so many years, and in whose great traditions we follow.