Dungog Community Preschool is celebrating their 50th birthday this year.
The first meeting for the proposed kindergarten was held on March 3, 1966 and attended by 11 mothers.
After much hard work the kindergarten was opened later than month in the Presbyterian Church hall with 23 children. Twelve more were on a waiting list.
Merle Newell was the teacher in charge and raffles were held to raise money to purchase equipment and toys.
The Lions and Sunshine clubs gave donations and the Apex Club made tables for the children.
Twelve months later the preschool approached the railway department to use the old barracks building. It was eventually leased to the preschool and the children moved there in November 1967.
Over the years parents have worked hard to bring the preschool up to its present standard.
In 1992 the preschool purchased the building from state rail.
Preschool management committee president Georgie Cleary said the preschool provides more than a learning experience for 30 children per day.
“It is a place for new parents to meet and integrate into the Dungog community and is an intrinsic part of the childhood development of those who are the future of the town,” she said.
“In come cases we have had three generations of local families who have been lucky enough to have experienced this amazing space.
“The only way to keep the preschool running is through community support. It is community-run by a volunteer management committee and we receive minimal government funding.”
The committee is organising a black tie event on Saturday, August 20 at Dungog Golf Club. Tickets are $60 per head or $600 for a table of 10.
Preschool director Sam Delafontaine said they are hoping to raise $10,000 to buy an electronic smartboard.
“The need for positive change in relation to technology exposure will provide the preschool children with the chance to experience technological advances in the areas of learning, play and childhood growth and development,” she said.
“We’ve done a lot of renovations over the past few years and it looks really good now, but we would like a smartboard to give the children another way of learning.
“There aren’t many preschools who have been around continuously for 50 years and are still progressing like this one.
“We have increased our numbers and every place is filled. There are so many that are turning into long day care centres or closing.”
The preschool wants to get in contact with all the former directors and would welcome photos to be scanned and used at the dinner.
As a fundraiser the school will also be selling engraved bricks with former preschooler’s names on and create a pathway from the front gate to the front door.
For more information about the dinner, fundraising or preschool photos contact Georgie Cleary on 0439 604 155.