For over twenty years children at the Cromwell Early Learning Centre Inc (CELCI) havebeen leaving their mark when they leave – specifically, in this case, by a painted handprint on the big retaining wall which runs along the side of the property.

It presents a very colourful and personalised memory of the children’s time at the centre.  However, the retaining wall has been deemed no longer fit for purpose, and it has to come down, and be replaced.  So, what of the history retained within the wall?

Staff and committee have pondered the problem, and have planned some options to honour the wee people who have  attended in the past.  After all, an important part of CELCI’s mission is to have the children ‘Feel they belong in this place’.

A copy of a child’s handprint can be purchased from CELCI as either a wall hanging or sticker.

Centre Manager, Lisa Lowrey, says, “Children often return to find their prints.  We are going to ensure that we record all of these in a photographed form on the new wall and continue this tradition into the future.”

The old wall is coming down at the end of April, and there will be a family night to celebrate the wall on 9 April.

“The plan is to start at 5 pm – families can come with their tea and we will have a short ceremony around 6 pm.  We will get the children to sing a song and release a helium balloon,” says committee member Gretchen Nightingale.

CELCI is a not-for-profit society, which began in 1954 as a parent-run play centre, and became an incorporated society in 2000. The project cost is over $47,000. They are looking at raising these funds in a variety of ways, one being to ask businesses and families to donate a block and have a plaque of thanks for your contribution on the block. If you would like to make a donation, please phone or e-mail: 03 445 0095; manager@celci.co.nz

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