Who we are

For 85 years, Gowrie Victoria has been at the forefront of high-quality early learning.

We’re a purpose-driven, not-for-profit organisation with a reputation for high quality early childhood education and care, translating theory into practice, and shining a light on best practice.

What we believe in

Our belief in the potential of children drives everything we do. We believe children are strong and capable and that all children have the ability to succeed.

How we do things

At Gowrie we have a culture of genuine curiosity and learning. We want to see people be their authentic selves. We encourage questions and trust our people to be creative and try new things. Because real learning and growth happen when we’re curious, reflective and open-minded.

This enables us to go beyond the surface and achieve better outcomes that make a difference.

What we do

Early Learning Services

Children are at the centre of our programs and practice at our six early learning services across Melbourne. We encourage children to be active in their own learning, to take calculated risks and to connect with Country and the natural world.

We engage children in thinking and learning about First Nations perspectives and engage with our local communities, through On Country programs, local events and by contributing to community decision making.

Demonstration and Professional Learning

Gowrie Victoria is known as a place for demonstration and learning. We draw on the experience and rich evidence-base from our own programs to increase the capabilities, confidence and engagement of educators and teachers across Victoria.

Our coaching, mentoring and learning programs aim to show rather than tell and to encourage reflection on what we learn.

Gowrie Australia

Gowrie Australia is a national body of six state-based not-for-profit organisations with a rich history of innovation and leadership in the early learning sector.

With over 80 years of contemporary thinking, Gowrie’s vision is that all children thrive.

The Gowrie organisations are known for high-quality early childhood education and care, adult education and professional development and advocacy.

Founded on the core values of inclusion, relationships, partnerships and child-led learning, each organisation uses a collaborative and reflective approach to improve practices. The heart of Gowrie Australia has always been its people and culture, with a strong emphasis on development and ongoing learning.

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