Lumsden Kindergarten

A passion for the 'under fives'

  • Little-Lumsden-image

    Little Lumsden

Lumsden is a privately owned kindergarten in Hastings and owner Maggie Seton, is widely regarded as an innovator in the business of childcare.

So it is no surprise that Lumsden Kindergarten was selected as a finalist in this year’s Hawke’s Bay Chamber of Commerce Business Awards. Being nominated in both the Online and Emerging Business categories is testament to a driven and passionate owner dedicated to her business.

Working as a Karitane nurse early in her career ignited Maggie’s passion for caring for the ‘under fives’. However with a burning desire to teach, she retrained and received her Bachelor of Education from Massey University. When the opportunity to purchase Lumsden Kindergarten came in 2004, Maggie didn’t hesitate.

Within two years Maggie had expanded the business by building onto the rear of the property to enable her to take on children who were on the waiting list. In 2010, after six years of owning the business, Maggie was faced with another challenge she met head on.

“With ‘Big Lumsden’ (as I call it) catering for three and four year olds, I wasn’t able to offer care for younger children and the demand for it was huge. Parents are working harder and often need care for their children earlier, so it was essential for our business that we could offer them this option. Caring for the children from an earlier age allows families continuity of care up until they go off to school,” she says.

So when the house next door became available, Maggie bought it. ‘Big Lumsden’s’ younger sibling ‘Little Lumsden’ was born. The centre will open its doors this month and there is a healthy waiting list.

“Expanding our business was the answer to meeting the needs of parents and children alike. Our extended hours also meet the needs of working families who require more than a half-day session.”

One of Maggie’s core beliefs that drives the curriculum at Lumsden, is preparing children for school. To that end, several unique programmes have been implemented at the kindergarten involving numeracy and literacy.

“Most of our children are writing their names and simple sentences by the time they leave us. Many school teachers in the area are reporting they love getting Lumsden children, which makes us very proud indeed,” she says.

Information technology plays an integral part in life at Lumsden. Not only is it part of the curriculum, it also offers a broader social benefit.

“Computers are the way of the world and it’s important we keep up with modern technology. As well as using computers for learning, they are an invaluable communication tool, essential for children and families to stay in touch with each other,” says Maggie.

By simply logging on to the interactive website, extended family can see what the children are doing. Fathers often Skype their children during the day. “It’s a lovely way to reach everyone,” Maggie says.

With the opening of ‘Little Lumsden’ a reality, Maggie is already planning her next move. But she openly admits that “figures are not my strong point” and she relies on Barry Rosenberg at Markhams to steer her in the right direction.

“Barry is fantastic. He does our monthly cashflows, GST and accounts. I need help with figures and Barry is only too happy to help with any financial advice at all. I can’t speak highly enough of him,” says Maggie.

Published Summer 2011.

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