Ruahine Kindergartens and Early Learning are not-for profit and inclusive of all children. Our tamariki, whānau and community are at the heart of what we do and our income goes back into learning and teaching - which is why we offer up to 30 hours free ECE.
All of our services follow Te Whāriki, the Ministry of Education early childhood education curriculum, with a focus on learning through play; and because we are community based, we work closely in partnership with parents and our local schools to give children the strongest start as confident, competent learners.
Our services are all extremely well resourced with large outdoor environments and lots of room for children to play; and our teaching teams are fully supported with continuous professional development, ensuring that our tamariki are happy, safe, making friends and ready to make a positive transition to school.
Our kindergartens are closely aligned to school hours (8.30 - 2.30 or 8.45 - 2.45) and we also have term breaks. We recognise that this can cause problems for some parents who may struggle finding alternative care during the term break, so we offer Holiday Programmes where your child can continue their learning.
Ruahine Early Learning is open throughout the year except the days between Christmas and New Year and our hours are much longer from 7.30am - 5.30pm.
Ruahine Early Learning has places for children aged birth to school age and we have teachers experienced at working with all early age groups. At kindergarten, children traditionally start at 3 years old, but we can often offer places for children slightly younger - contact your local kindergarten to see if they have spaces as our kindergarten teachers are well qualified to work with children under 3 and some already do on a regular basis. The best thing is to visit a couple of your preferred centres and talk to the teachers.
No, your child does not have to start school at 5, unless they are ready to do so; the legal requirement for starting school is 6 years. At Ruahine Kindergarten Association our teachers work in partnership with whānau so that together, you can decide the best time for your child to start school. We have strong relationships with primary schools in our communities and good transition programmes so that children feel prepared and confident when they take the next step in their learning journey.
100% of our permanent teachers are fully qualified and registered supplemented by some 'In-training teachers' who are part-way through studying for a qualification in early childhood education.
The structure of the day differs at each of our services and they each have a unique personality that reflects the communities in which they are located, so when you are looking for a service, we encourage you to visit a few before deciding which is best for your child and your personal circumstances.
There are so many opportunities available for your child's learning. A normal day can vary with lots of equipment and resources set out to encourage experience in all curriculum areas, as well as our teachers working with individual groups of children to extend their learning and understanding. Your child will develop language, thinking and social skills along with dispositions for lifelong learning such as trust, confidence, risk taking, curiosity, courage, responsibility and persistence. They will learn how to be a good, considerate friend, be a part of a group and how to share and take turns. All of this will occur through a range of fun activities such as sand and water play, puzzles, playdough, clay – not to mention painting and climbing, running and jumping! Children learn to care for the environment, for themselves and for each other. It is such an exciting and fun time!! Read more about Te Whâriki, the early childhood education curriculum and child initiated play.
Absolutely not. Our well qualified teachers will be able to work alongside you to support your child to become independent in this area when they are ready. Wearing a nappy does not exclude your child from any of our services.
When you enrol your child, the teacher will explain drop off and pick-up times. Usually, you can drop your child off 5-10 minutes early, but you will need to stay until your child's official start time as we are not licenced to have children until the session starts - but this does give you time to help settle them in. You are expected to pick up your child on time. If you are running late, please contact the teaching team and we will keep your child safe until an authorised person collects them.
You can read more about this on our Fees Page - every child is entitled to 20 ECE hours free from the Government and you choose where you use these hours e.g. a Ruhine kindergarten/Early Learning or another centre. If you use your full entitlement of 20 Hours ECE with a single Ruahine Kindergarten or Ruahine Early Learning, then attendance for any additional hours is free up to a maximum of 30 hours per week. Invoices for fees are produced monthly in advance, with payment due by the 20th of the month in which the period of fees apply. Fees are paid directly to the Association and can be made by Automatic Payment, Direct Debit or Internet Banking.
A Childcare Subsidy is normally paid by WINZ for up to nine hours of childcare a week and in some situations you may be able to get up to 50 hours a week. If you are claiming 20 ECE hours, you can’t claim a Childcare Subsidy for those hours. Every situation is unique, so we recommend you contact your local WINZ office to discuss your personal circumstances.
We often have more children wanting to attend our amazing services than we have spaces for, so we do have lists of children waiting for places. The general rule at kindergarten, is that the oldest child waiting gets the next available space. At Ruahine Learning, we have under 2 yrs and over 2 year spaces, check with your local Ruahine Early Learning for information on availability and waiting lists. There are sometimes opportunities to start with your child attending one or two days until the full space you require comes available - each service is different, so talk to the Head Teacher/Centre Manager about what is best for your child. We have 20 Ruahine Kindergartens in the area and four Ruahine Early Learning (with a further Early Learning being built in the Summerhill area of Palmerston North) so its worth spending time to find the one which is most suitable for your child.
Of course! We welcome all parents and whānau to stay with their children as long as they need. There are often areas for you to sit and read a magazine, or have a coffee with other parents too. Our teachers support parents, as well as your child’s learning and you are more than welcome to stay and participate.
If an accident is non-serious, such as a little scrape, then your teacher will talk to you when you pick up your child. Sometimes, teachers may place a note in your child's pocket and follow this up with a quick chat. Should we be concerned for any reason, we will contact you immediately. If we are unable to contact a parent we will phone the emergency contacts you have indicated on your enrolment form. All of our teachers are trained in First Aid and are very experienced to deal with emergencies in the unlikely event that they should arise.
Most definitely. Your teachers are available to talk with you every day and share about your child’s learning. We also have individual portfolio books and an online portfolio system called Educa that you can access whenever you want to see your child’s progress. Educa is a really exciting way of recording learning that can be made available to as many family members as you like. We also have committees and parent groups that you can join to become even more involved in your child’s education. We really value you and your family sharing what is happening at home so this can be extended on within the kindergarten and Early Learning environment. You are your children’s first teachers and know them the best!
It's always advisable to send a change of clothes (named) as children often get a bit mucky during the day. Some will also require you to bring a hat. It's great to have a 'named' bag to hold any extra clothing and the art creations your child will bring home, your child will also have their own area at kindergarten/early learning to keep their belongings and named water bottle. Some kindergartens do provide lunch and most ask that your child is provided with a snack for morning tea, the best thing to do is ask when you enrol and our friendly teachers will let you know how it works there and anything else you might need for your child.