KU: Australia’s first early education provider

Founded in 1895, KU (then the Kindergarten Union of NSW) opened Australia’s first preschool aimed at providing education to the community’s most disadvantaged children – and in that moment, early education in Australia was born. Today KU is one of Australia’s largest and leading providers of preschools, childcare and other early education services, and remains proudly not for profit.

"From our beginnings, KU has believed in the value of play for young children and the importance of having specialised early childhood teachers and educators working with children and their families in the context of their communities.” Christine Legg, CEO

For more than 120 years KU has played an important role in shaping the lives of generations of young Australians; a significant, and unmatched, milestone in Australian history.

Since its beginnings more than 120 years ago, much has changed in Australian early education – the buildings and playgrounds, regulations and standards, funding to support children with additional needs and research have all come a long way. The more recent impact of technology on the education and care of young children is significant.

However many things have not changed at all. At its core, KU and the early education sector have always been driven by the values and knowledge that the early years is a crucial period in children’s learning and development and provides a strong foundation for future success in learning and citizenship. From our beginnings, KU has believed in the value of play for young children and the importance of having specialised early childhood teachers and educators working with children and their families in the context of their communities. 

In 2015, KU commissioned and published a commemorative pictorial book ‘As the twig bends: 120 Years of early education’, along with a unique photographic exhibition utilising multi-platform storytelling with links to mobile accessible web-based content. Today the exhibition continues to tour the country, and has visited more than 15 locations and been enjoyed by more than 50,000 members of the public.

To learn more about KU's 120 year history and the evolution of early childhood education, visit our KU 120 Years website:

Website-Screenshot.PNG#asset:8365