Participant Info

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Last Name
Website URL
Teacher's work, kindergarten history, local history
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Personal Info

About Me

I am a past senior lecturer in teacher education at Massey University, Palmerston North.  I am interested in researching and writing the overlooked and lost stories of our past with a particular focus on the work of ordinary people and the everyday events that helped shape broader critical moments in early childhood history. My undergraduate degree – a B.A. with a major in History – aligned with my professional and now community-based work help shape the disciplines of educational history, childhood and teachers’ work underpinning my research focus. I have published widely both nationally and internationally as well as contributed to online sites. My PhD explored the transmission of kindergarten pedagogy and its organizational implementation in two geographical locations in colonial New Zealand. Semi-retired, I continue to undertake research, with a particular focus on the transnational travels of teachers. 

Recent Publications



May, H & K Bethell, (Ed.,) (2017) Growing a Kindergarten Movement in Aotearoa New Zealand: Its people, purposes and politics. Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research

Bethell, K., (2016) 100 Years Young: Celebrating a century at the Myers Kindergarten.    Auckland: Auckland Kindergarten Association

Bethell, K., (2011) Re-presenting Dunedin’s kindergarten pioneers: Some new stories. Invited Occasional Paper, Dunedin: Otago University College of Education and Dunedin Kindergarten Association.

Book Chapters

Bethell, K. (2016) Froebelian Teachers Abroad: Implementing a Modern Infant Education System in Colonial Wellington, New Zealand, 1906–25. In H May, K Nawrotzki & L Prochner [Eds.]. Kindergarten Narratives on Froebelian Education Transnational Investigations (51-64). London: Bloomsbury Academic, 51-64

Bethell, K., (2011) ‘Doris Collins’ Christmas Stocking’. In F McKergow & K Taylor (Eds.). Te Hao Nui – The Great Catch” Object Stories of Te Manawa (p. 272 – 277). Auckland: Random House/Godwit

 Bethell K., (2011) ‘Miniature boy and girl dolls. In F McKergow & K Taylor (Eds.). Te Hao Nui – The Great Catch” Object Stories of Te Manawa (p. 28-33). Auckland: Random House/Godwit.

Bethell, K. (2010). To venture with purpose: Miss Mary Richmond’s 1907 educational travels abroad. In K. Neumann, U. Sauerbrey, & M. Wrinkler (Eds.), Fröbelpädagogik im Kontext der Moderne. Bildung, Erziehung und soziales Handeln, (pp. 113-126). Jena (Germany) IKS Garamond Publishing House


Journal Articles (refereed)

Bethell, K. (2018): ‘The second frontier of education”: Community-based pre-school provision in Manawatu, 1939–1979, The Manawatu Journal of History, Issue No. 14, 2018 (in press)

Bethell, K. (2018) ‘[T]hen along comes Mr Carnegie’ Carnegie Travel Fellowships and the professional development of kindergarteners in 1930s New Zealand. In L Prochner & H May & [Eds.]. Lessons & Legacies Special Edition International Journal Early Years, 2018, p. 171-184.

Bethell, K & C Scrivens, (2017) The Story of a Schoolbag: Going to School in the First World War, The Manawatu Journal of History, Issue No. 13, 2017, p. 15-22

Sewell, A and K Bethell,  (2017) Stitching, knitting and weaving: Using objects to tell the story of the work of an occupational therapist in post World War II New Zealand, The New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapy Te Hautaka Whakaora Ngangahau o Aotearoa,  Volume 64, Issue 1, April, 2017, p. 4-13

Bethell, K, (2014) Five and six-year-olds at kindergarten: Miss Morris’ experimental primary class, Wellington Free Kindergarten Association 1921 – 27. New Zealand Journal of Teachers’ Work, Volume 11, Issue 1, 2014

Bethell, K., & A Sewell, (2010) Researching an everyday teacher in 1940s New Zealand: New liaisons – new stories. Journal of International Research in Early Childhood Education. Volume 1, No. 2, p. 13 – 28.

Sewell, A., & K Bethell, (2009) ‘Building interests: A 1940s story of curriculum innovation and contemporary connections’. New Zealand Journal of Teachers’ Work, Volume 6, Issue 2.

Bethell, K. (2006) To bring into play: Miss Mary Richmond’s utilization of kindred networks n the diffusion of kindergarten ideals into practice. In British History of Education, Volume 35, Number 2, March, p. 225 – 244.



The Kindergarten Heritage Collection of New Zealand was launched in late 2016 and is a vibrant, ongoing history project of the country’s national kindergarten organizations. The items selected for the launch are exemplars of the kind of material intended for preservation and collection. The website items were sourced by Helen May and Kerry Bethel.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
New Zealand
Expertise by Geography
England, New Zealand, United States
Expertise by Chronology
19th century, 20th century
Expertise by Topic
Children & Youth, Gender, Local & Regional, Material Culture, Women