History of the Hampton Public Kindergarten

By John M. Holman, Contributing Writer

"The Hampton public school kindergarten will open its first term Monday, September 8 (1947) in the present American Legion Hall (now the Hampton District Court House on Winnacunnet Road in 1997). It is requested that parents enroll their children the first day since registration will be determined that day.

"Hours will be from nine o'clock until twelve noon. Parents will be responsible for transportation of their children since the regular school buses will not be available to them.

"Miss Marie McGann will be pleased to see the parents of each child as near the beginning of the school year as possible. Miss McGann is a graduate of the Perry Kindergarten Normal School and has operated her own school this year in Boston.

"Entrance to the public kindergarten is not compulsory. A child must be five years of age before January 1, 1948 and have been successfully vaccinated or have complied with the vaccination law of New Hampshire."

(-- Hampton Union -- 8/28/47)

The first Kindergarten class on September 8, 1947, was comprised of 24 pupils and they included: Brian Akerman, Jonathan Aldrich, Virginia Bailey, Patricia Batchelder, Robert Batchelder, Timothy Brooks, Peter Curtis, Larry Douglas, Steven Driscoll, Judith Dunbrack, Donna Hall, Thomas Hall, Peter Hoyt, Mary Eloise McKeon, Paul Panaccione, Sarah Ann Seavey, Cynthia Lue Sheret, Harold Simons, George Smith, John Snider, Sue Betty Sturgis, Sally Sumner and Marlis Swartzwelder.

In his report to the School Board on January 27, 1948, Superintendent of Schools Roy W. Gillmore reported in part as follows: " ..... The Hampton schools intend to continually improve their service to an ever increasing group of the children of the town. With this purpose in view, and in accord with the vote of the district meeting, a public kindergarten was first established this year (September 8, 1947). Since the Centre School is crowded at present, it became necessary to secure a room outside of the school buildings. With the fine cooperation of the American Legion and its Auxiliary, and with the consent of the Selectmen, the former Legion Hall (now the District Court House, formerly the Grammar School) was made available to us. This hall has been renovated and adapted to the use of little children. A small toilet room has been installed, a new heater purchased and the room redecorated in a light blue with matching curtains. Little chairs and round tables, together with equipment recommended for kindergartens are furnished. The teacher (Miss Marie McGann) is a graduate of the Perry Normal Kindergarten School and is qualified for New Hampshire certification. I believe the parents are uniformly pleased with this new school." (January 27, 1948 Roy W. Gillmore, Superintendent of Schools)

In his second report to the School Board, Mr. Gillmore reported: "..... The present year began Wednesday, September 8, 1948 with an initial enrollment (in the School District) of 539 as compared with that of 530 the previous year. .... The kindergarten has increased from 24 to 39 in one year."

Mrs. Ruth Snyder was hired as an Assistant Teacher in the new Kindergarten in 1948 and is known for her very successful kindergarten.

On opening day of school on September 7, 1949, the enrollment of Kindergarten was 37, a decrease of 2 over the previous year. The teacher that year was Barbara Thompson with an annual salary of $2,200. and her assistant, Ruth Snyder received $1,000. annually.

The September enrollment of Kindergarten in 1997 was 137 with 4 classrooms of 4 teachers and 4 assistants with a morning session and an afternoon session. The enrollment on October 31st was 148. The teachers are Pat Woodhouse, Katie Wentworth, Barbara Nicholson and Becky Wright. Their assistants are Judy Desrochers, Connie Holman, Ann Colcord and Angela Loflus. The principal is Robert Koenig.