Gowrie Victoria

Gowrie Victoria’s purpose is to champion and demonstrate quality early learning. As a non-profit social enterprise, our belief in children as strong and capable citizens drives everything we do.

We value children at the centre of our programs and practice. We encourage children to be active participants in their own learning which means at our six early learning services across Melbourne, you’ll see our teachers and educators actively engaging children in decision-making.

As part of our commitment to improving outcomes for children, we share this experience and knowledge with the early childhood sector to increase the capabilities, confidence and engagement of educators and teachers and to improve the quality of early learning across Victoria. We have a long history of delivering professional development programs across the state which draws on this rich evidence-base from our own early learning services.

We are proud of our heritage of championing excellence and as a strong advocate for children. We are proud to be known as the place where generations of teachers and educators have gone to observe, learn and be inspired.

Our adult learning programs focus on programs that build and improve the quality of our sector in Victoria. These range from training new educators to supporting experienced early learning professionals to reflect and embed practices that improve their programs.

Gowrie Victoria is a member of Gowrie Australia. Gowrie Australia is a national consortium of state-based early childhood education and care organisations, all sharing the same strong foundations. Gowrie uses a national, collaborative approach to improve practices for the benefit children, families, and the early education sector.

The Gowrie Story

The Gowrie story begins in 1930 with a group of Melbourne women of remarkable vision and enthusiasm. Realising the impact of children’s early experience on their later development and wishing to extend the influence of the growing number of nursery schools, these public-spirited women formed The Nursery School Committee “to consider ways of furthering the new nursery school experiment in Victoria”.

In 1932, the committee was re-named the Demonstration Nursery School Committee and over the next few years guided the establishment of several nursery schools including one at the Children’s Hospital. With extraordinary foresight, this voluntary committee formed a working party in early 1938 to draw up tentative plans for a demonstration centre for preschool child development in each capital city. A detailed memorandum and plans were taken to Canberra and discussed with the Director General of Health. The need for better care for the very young had also been urged by other influential agencies and the valuable support of Lady Gowrie, wife of the Governor General, did much bring about a quick approval of the scheme. Late in April, the Prime Minister wrote to the Premiers in each state:

“It has been decided that a Demonstration Centre should be established in each Capital City at which not only will the methods of care and instruction of young children be tested and demonstrated, but also problems of physical growth, nutrition and development will be studied. These Centres will be under the direction of the Commonwealth Department of Health”.

Because of the inspiration provided by Lady Gowrie, it was decided that each of the six centres would bear her name – The Lady Gowrie Child Centre. During the years 1939 – 40, she personally opened each of the Centres at a public gathering.

Lady Zara Gowrie

Our Strategic Plan