Who we are

Seventy five years ago, at the request of His Grace, the Archbishop of Melbourne, a Church of England Free Kindergarten Council was formed, its object being to direct the work of the kindergartens in the Diocese and to provide for their continuity and development.

In October, 1943, the Free Kindergarten Act was passed and a Central Council constituted, to be known as the Church of England Free Kindergarten Central Council. This Act provided for the establishment and control of Church of England Free Kindergartens.

One of the first duties of this Council was to appoint a qualified Supervisor, and at the beginning of 1944 Miss Winifred E. Griffiths, the Director of the Lady Gowrie Child Centre, Melbourne, was appointed to this position. A redevelopment programme was initiated and, as a first step, five bursaries to the Kindergarten Training College, Melbourne, were offered in order to ensure fully qualified staff for the existing kindergartens. A long range plan was put into operation to bring these kindergartens to the required standard as set down by the Australian Pre-School Association and acceptable to the Victorian Department of Health.

The growing demand for preschool education was at this time making itself felt in the community and so the first of our affiliated kindergartens was opened at Christ Church, Essendon, in 1945, followed by Holy Trinity, Hampton, in September of the same year.

At this time also, a branch of the Australian Pre-School Association was established in the State and the Church of England Free Kindergarten Council was granted affiliation in 1948. Due to the development of the single unit centre throughout the State, assisted by grants towards capital costs of building, and increasing maintenance subsidies, a rapid expansion took place in the pre-school field.  This expansion was also evident in our own organisation and necessitated the appointment of a second supervisor in 1956.

Today the Council is known as the Council for Anglican Early Childhood Services (AECS). This change in name occurred in 1992 to demonstrate the diversity of early childhood education. The Council wanted to acknowledge child care centres in addition to kindergartens.

During 1992 the State Government introduced the per capita grant formula which had a major impact on the management of kindergartens. When kindergartens became the employers of staff, the AECS requested that all Anglican centres become incorporated but still maintain affiliation with the Council. There are 17 affiliated services within the AECS. Incorporation is now required by the Diocese.

In 1996 Archbishop-in-Council invited the AECS to convene a Consultation Committee to review the then current delivery of AECS. A summary of the report of the Committee is available on request.

Today, the Council for Anglican Early Childhood Services is faced with the increasing challenge of limited funds and growing needs. However, the Chair, Council and Regional Team Leaders are committed to maintaining excellence in the provision of quality care and education for the child enrolled in Anglican Early Childhood Services programs as well as support for their parents and teachers.

The Role of the Council for Anglican Early Childhood Services

The Council for Anglican Early Childhood Services is committed to:

  • Keeping the Diocese informed of developments and changes within early childhood education – funding, structures, etc
  • Planning for 2012 and beyond, with ongoing strategic reviews; plans for centres, continued development, exploring funding sources, communication with and support of Regional Team Leaders and Centre staff
  • Establishing working links between the Council for AECS, AECS staff, Cluster Managers, Committees of Management, Vestries and staff of appropriate Anglican agencies, e.g. Anglicare Victoria
  • Establishing links with those Anglican schools that provide early childhood services
  • Engaging in research to clarify what type of early childhood services the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne could undertake in the future
  • Being a voice on early childhood issues within the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne.

Membership of the Council for Anglican Early Childhood Services

Mr Ken Spackman
General Manager Business Services
The Anglican Centre
209 Flinders Lane
Melbourne 3000
Tel: (03) 9653 4220
Fax: (03) 9653 4268

Deputy Chair


Committee Members
Mrs Lois Erickson
Revd Gail Pinchbeck
Revd Helen Phillips

Mrs Dorothy Hughes
Anglican Diocese of Melbourne
Children and Families Ministry Facilitator and Playgroups Coordinator
Tel: (03) 9653 4220

Regional Team Leaders

Eastern Region
Jan Collins
Tel: (03) 9842 9846

Southern Region
Felicity Jones
Tel: (03) 9592 4464

Northern/Western Region
Kay Harrison
Tel: (03) 9337 5230


 Contact us


​For more information about Anglican Early Childhood Services, contact the Chairman Mr Ken Spackman by email:

Anglican Early Childhood Services
209 Flinders Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 9653 4220


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