Kindy kids win back stolen smiles
Youngsters left heartbroken by the theft of playground equipment a few months ago are bouncing with happiness again, now it has been replaced.
To show their gratitude, Stoke Kindergarten put on a sumptious morning tea for the community and businesses that helped replace the frame house and picnic tables stolen in March.
"Some guys be stoling them but thank you for all the new ones," four-year-old Lucy Colvin said in her short thank you speech to representatives of Goldpine, Bunnings, ITM and Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, who gathered for sausage rolls and chocolate muffins.
One morning early in March the kindergarten's 30 pupils went to play on their large wooden frame playhouse, only to find it had been stolen together with a picnic table.
Head teacher Sue Knox was livid.
She said it was a "brutish act that lacked humanity".
"The children came out to play and we noticed a huge gap in the play area and suddenly realised someone had come in over the fence and stolen the table and frame (house)."
It was a big drama for the children to come out and see something they held so dear had gone, she said.
However, they were resilient and had become detectives trying to find clues to the theft.
Knox said the frame house was heavy and would have been awkward to move. She estimated four people would have been needed to lift it.
Kindergarten staff had alerted parents, the police and the community.
"We have such a small budget. Kindergarten is free to children and we take care of kids sometimes all day. We have very little to work with."
A week later the kindy's letterbox was "blown to bits", but the culprits caught.
One had to face the children as part of the justice process.
Four year-olds Lincoln Homan, Kyle King, Jude Neate and Noah Deacon, were just as excited about the morning tea as they were about the new play equipment.
"It's sad I didn't get to play with it," Lincoln said of the stolen frame house.
He quickly forgot at the sight of chocolate muffins. Kyle was searching for his favourite muesli bars and Jude was slightly sad there was none of her favourite food on the laden table - hotdogs.
The Nelson Mail